Page 44 - February 2021
P. 44

Compassion and commitment
Lodge 7 members step up to help the homeless
 While responding to a shooting on North Avenue in January, 25th District coordination officers Adrian Zepeda and Ivan Robles spotted a woman whose ac- tions drew their attention.
The woman was digging through gar- bage cans in search of clothing, shoes and similar basic necessities that had been discarded by others, the officers learned. Her situation prompted the of- ficers to act — they contacted the district CAPS office, officials with the Gap Com- munity Center and the 31st Ward alder- man’s office.
Together, this collaboration of police and community partners collected sev- eral bags of clothing, toys and more for the woman — enough items to fill up the back of an SUV.
By nature, police officers observe and assess situations and then react accord-
ing to their training. More often than the public might realize, an officer’s compas- sion and commitment to helping others plays out as it did on the Northwest Side for a woman in need.
Whether it’s teaming up with social service agencies or religious leaders, or simply on their own, Chicago Police offi- cers frequently step up to help those fac-
ing the challenges of poverty and home- lessness. From delivering coats and blankets to those living outside in en- campments, to providing food and care packages, officers continually show the people they are behind the badge. Here’s a look at how officers in several districts went above and beyond recently to help the homeless in the city.
  Getting essential supplies
to those in the 1st
and 18th districts
Members of the 1st District and 18th District teamed up with a local nonprofit to distribute food and toiletries to individuals experiencing homelessness in Chicago on Dec. 21, 2020.
The nonprofit, Never 99, was founded by Chicago police dis- patcher Minka Giles. Never 99 provides toiletries such as tooth- paste and shampoo as well as first-aid kits to Chicago citizens experiencing homelessness.
Officers partnered with Giles to provide warm blankets and toiletry bags to those individuals as temperatures dropped throughout the city.
“People are dying, people need help,” Giles expressed. “Right now, you’ve got to be able to do whatever it is you can do to help.”
12th District officers collect and distribute coats
When 12th District officers were contacted by Conswella Mo- ses-Harrison to help out with a coat distribution event for the homeless, Officers James Olszanski and Kim Valenti jumped in to assist. The officers from the community policing department spearheaded a coat collection throughout the district.
The two officers posted flyers around the station asking for lightly used coats, resulting in a heap of donations. On Jan. 11, Olszanski and Valenti took the donated coats to distribute to homeless people in the community who would benefit from warm clothing.
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