South Bay Residents Receive Christmas Dinners

By Mario A. Cortez

Last Tuesday, South Bay residents were treated to a bit of cheer in the form of holiday meals and more.

The Chula Vista Police Foundation, in conjunction with Athletes for Education, held its 11th annual holiday meal giveaway, which saw 1,000 pre-selected families receive a turkey dinner along with sides such as vegetables and potatoes.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks, in-need families were given a voucher good for one of the free dinner packages which here handed out.

Chula Vista Police Captain Phil Collum pointed out that reaching all the selected families was only possible through working with other agencies.

“The tickets were handed out through a collaboration between many partners, nonprofits, police officers, and the Police Foundation members,” said Collum, adding that residents from all over the South Bay area received dinners despite the effort being undertaken by Chula Vista based agencies.

Although the event gave away meals for families chosen in advance, there were still enough for many people who heard about the event but didn’t have a voucher for the giveaway.

“Fortunately, since we had more than enough for the selected families; we were able to give everyone here a meal,” Collum shared.

Officers and event volunteers began to set up for the event at 5 a.m., with dinners starting to be given away at 7 a.m. up through roughly 9 a.m.

Among those who arrived very early were Ramona residents Bill and Judy Bryant, who lent a custom made sleigh, decked out with lights, reindeer and speakers, so Santa Claus can give out presents and candy for kids, as well as take pictures with families.

“Having the kids get on the sleigh with Mr. and Mrs. Claus is a big part of Christmas so the the children have a great time,” said Bill Bryant. “This event brings a great joy to the community.”

Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy has attended the event for several years as an officer.

Now, as she finishes her first year as chief, Kennedy is happy to see that the event is well received and believes that it opens up an opportunity to interact with the community.

“Often times people see law enforcement as a strong arm, but there is a level of care and concern for the community in Chula Vista,” Kennedy said to La Prensa San Diego. “I just want the community to know how much my officers care for the community.”

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