City of Doral Police Department leads the 11th Thanksgiving Food Drive
By Diana Bello Aristizábal
Twelve schools, eight churches, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the City of Doral Police Department got together, once again, to deliver 486 bags of food and 486 turkeys to the less fortunate families of Doral and of all Miami-Dade County.
From October 29 and until November 14, several churches and schools such as Doral Academy, Renaissance, Ronald Reagan, Dr. Rolando Espinosa, Dr. Tony Bilbao, Divine Savior, Eugenia B. Thomas, John I. Smith and Downtown Doral, among others, collected non-perishable foods that were later taken to Ronald Reagan High School, central point to assemble the food received.
Once there, the Doral Police Department organized and packed the donations evenly in different bags that were then delivered to the participating schools and churches on November 19 and 20, respectively. These, in turn, had the task of distributing them to the beneficiary families.
In addition, on November 20, the Doral Police was present in the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to distribute bags of food to the families in need, with the collaboration of the ‘Police Explorers’, a program in which children between the ages of 14 and 19 years old learn about law enforcement and do community service hours.
“Every year we try to serve the neediest of the Doral community and Miami-Dade. For that, we have a budget of 5,000 dollars aimed to buy turkeys at Walmart for a fair price. Also, the retailer store donates the bags where we pack the food”, explains Lieutenant Daniel Muñecas of the City of Doral Police Department.
The turkeys are divided into compliance with the particular needs of each location. For example, in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church are donated, on average, between 50 and 60 turkeys along with canned foods so that families can receive a full meal.
The Food Drive is an initiative in which is key the help of schools and churches, as they not only invite the community to donate but also work together with the Doral Police to identify the families that, due to different circumstances, lack of resources to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner.
“We work individually with the counselors and administrators of each school because they know better than anyone which children take free lunches or have clothes in poor condition,” says Lieutenant Muñecas.
It should be noted that although the Thanksgiving Food Drive is convened and led by the City of Doral Police Department and counts with the participation of local schools, it is extended to families throughout Miami-Dade County because, among other things, a lot of people study and work in Doral but live outside the city.
More than collecting food
According to the Doral Police, the Thanksgiving Food Drive has been successful year after year because it strengthens the relationship between the Police and the community. “We have the responsibility to serve and protect, which is not limited to fighting against the bad guys but also doing something good for the people,” says the Police Lieutenant.
On another note, in his opinion, the great value of this activity is that by providing a full meal to a family, which otherwise could not afford one, they can spend their money to cover other basic needs.
However, as it is clear that some families not only need help during Thanksgiving or Christmas, the Doral Police Department works throughout the year, from January 1 to December 31, to create and support similar initiatives that contribute to poverty reduction, with the contribution of the mayor’s office, the city commissioner and other entities.