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September 3, 2013

Pulaski police buy school shoes for children

NEW CASTLE — Twenty-one children have new shoes to start school this year, compliments of the Pulaski Township Police Department.

The officers conducted a fundraising campaign and collected more than $600 in contributions from local residents and businesses.

They supplemented that with some proceeds from their recent night-glow golf outing and bought shoes for every child whose family had signed up.

Sgt. Chad Adams, officer in charge, and Jeff Wiesen, a part-time patrolman, took the youngsters shopping at Famous Footwear in Union Township.

Adams put the appeal for donations on the department’s Facebook page and the generosity flowed.

“People sent us checks,” he said. “I didn’t have to send out any letters asking for the money.”

Donations came from Reed Oil Co. in New Castle, the New Bedford Lions Club, Tanglewood Golf Course owners Bruce and Jody Clingan, the Springfield Restaurant Group, Gwen Matricardi of Pulaski Township and one township resident who asked not to be identified.

The list of children who benefited also came from Facebook.

“We asked on Facebook if anyone needed help to call or email,” Adams said. “We didn’t decline anyone. We took everyone who got in touch with us.”

Most responders were from lower-income families.

The youngest to get shoes was 4 and the oldest, 16. The officers limited the program to township residents, most of whom attend the Wilmington school district.

A Famous Footwear manager worked with police and helped stretch their funds with a buy-one-get-one-half-off offer and a 20 percent discount coupon.

Adams said the community response was greater than expected.

“With us being around in the community,” he said of the police, “we get to see a lot of people who could use the extra help.”

Adams also noted the effort is a way to gain the children’s trust in the local police and to make them comfortable with talking to the officers.

“So many times when the police are involved with a situation we see them at a low point in their lives,” he said. “It was great to be involved on a positive note and do good for them.”

The department also is sharing some of its golf outing money with a few school organizations, Adams said, but a majority of revenues from the July event will go toward new equipment and a new cruiser.

When she saw the project on the department’s Facebook page, Jody Clingan said, she thought it was a great idea.

“I know there are a lot of children whose parents are off work and they can’t afford to buy new shoes,” she said. “To get a new pair of shoes makes you feel better.

“Our family is very fortunate to have what we have. I just want children to be able to feel a little better about themselves.”

She said she hopes the police collect again to buy winter boots for children.

Clingan commended the effort, noting Adams, who had spearheaded it, “is thoughtful of others who are less fortunate. He’s a giving person and thinks of other people’s need and concerns.”

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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