PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A big coat drive is warming up families in need. It’s part of an effort by leaders to bring joy and peace to the neighborhoods this holiday season.
Sixtieth and Market Streets in West Philadelphia is bustling on any given day, but it’s also a hot spot for crime without a constant police presence.
“Sixtieth and Market, there’s a police officer that is there. Every single day, 24 hours a day. If I don’t, then essentially somebody dies,” Philadelphia Police Capt. John Stanford said.
Stanford says shootings continue to plague the area. But, while officers deal with their share of gun violence, this time of year they incorporate more community policing to try and bring about a sense of peace.
“If you have families in an area riddled with poverty and now you dump shooting incidents that happen in those areas and you combine all of that, where do they get relief?” Stanford said.
Police hope relief comes, even if only briefly, throughout the holiday season. It’s filled with much-needed festivities and giveaways throughout the district.
“On the 19th we’re doing a holiday party here at the district. On the 21st we’re looking to do a coat drive. Partnering with a community organization hoping to give out about 300 coats to kids in the neighborhood,” Stanford added.
The heartfelt secret Santa letters are already pouring in, as community members nominate families in need.
Police and city leaders are all doing their part to make the season brighter for those in some of the highest crime and high poverty areas.
“We will be giving away 500 brand new winter coats for children and adults as well,” Councilman Kenyatta Johnson said.
Johnson is hosting his first winter coat giveaway at 58th and Kingsessing in Southwest Philadelphia.
“We have a significant amount of low-income families in that part of Southwest Philadelphia. It’s an opportunity to wrap our hands around that part of Southwest Philadelphia,” Johnson said.