LAPD Harbor Division and Philie B’s Pizza To Host Charity Events This Weekend
Preparations are underway for the LAPD Harbor Division's 12th annual Helping Badge Winter Wonderland event this Sunday. (photo: courtesy LAPD)
Amidst the craziness of holiday shopping and travelers going in and out of town, at least three in the community have not forgotten what the holiday season is really about.
This weekend, the Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division will host its 12th annual Helping Badge Winter Wonderland event for about 2,500 underprivileged LAUSD elementary school students. In addition, Philie B’s restaurant in downtown San Pedro, in conjunction with Harbor Interfaith Services (HIS), will host its first Christmas fundraiser benefitting those receiving services at HIS that help them get back on their feet.
Stop by the Cabrillo Marina (224 Whalers Walk, San Pedro) this Saturday, December 20, from 12-4 p.m. for a fun holiday fair featuring vendors, food booths, arts and crafts, hot chocolate and a picture with St. Nick himself at Philie B’s Christmas Fundraiser where all food-related proceeds will be donated to HIS. The local charitable organization supports and guides the homeless and working poor in a series of steps for them to regain their footing back in the community while providing them with basic living necessities like food, clothing, hygiene products and, of course, shelter.
“We have been established here for about a year and I just want to give back to the community,” said Phil Buscemi, owner of Philie B’s when asked about the impetus behind this fundraiser. “My son goes to Holy Trinity and last year I saw firsthand how its toy drive gave so much to Harbor Interfaith Services. So I wanted our business to give as well in our way.”
With generous donations from local businesses like San Pedro Brewing Company, Pacific Motor Cars, MAF Construction, and Express Bathrooms, Buscemi hopes that this fundraiser will have a great turnout at the Cabrillo Marina this Saturday afternoon.
“We might see only 20 people at the event, but no matter. A dollar raised is a dollar raised, and we hope to raise as much money as possible for Harbor Interfaith [Services] so they can continue their great work,” he said.
Not to be outdone, this Sunday, December 21, from 4-9 p.m., six acres of the L.A. Harbor Pistol Range will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland to live up to the imagination of 2,500 underprivileged students and their families.
In its 12th year of putting on the event, the Community Relations Department of Harbor Community Police Station and 100 police cadets and area volunteers will bring in a 40-ft Christmas tree surrounded by 60 additional smaller Christmas trees all decked in ornaments and 100,000+ lights, artificial snow creating flurries on top of a two-track Toboggan sleigh ride for the kids, and a huge indoor Santa’s workshop complete with holiday décor and presents for the students’ picking.
“We will also have a 40’ x 30’ inflatable movie screen outdoors playing holiday movies for the [duration of the] event. Volunteers will guide students into Santa’s workshop where they get to pick one toy to bring home, and each family will receive two bags of goodies, one being a bag of food items with which to make a nice holiday meal,” shared Sergeant Catherine Plows, who has been in charge of running this event at the range for the past six years.
By sheer willpower in garnering the community’s support, Plows and her team receive not only free props and equipment from Green Set, a filming prop company, but also toys and monetary donations from Jakks Pacific, S.A. Recycling, ConocoPhillips, all the San Pedro/Harbor Area neighborhood councils, among several others to support this event.
Ten local LAUSD elementary schools are solicited to each provide a list of 25 students and their families who are most in need this season and each family is invited to attend Helping Badge Winter Wonderland. More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the festivities this Sunday. Unlike Philie B’s event though, the Helping Badge Winter Wonderland is invitation only for the students and their families.
Plows’ love for this charitable event is palpable. “If you have never witnessed a child being able to pick and keep a new toy, or meeting Santa for the first time, or enjoying fun in the snow, there’s absolutely nothing like it. Every child deserves this regardless of their economic status.”