SFPD host Christmas tree giveaway in Fillmore District
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - It's that time of the year when communities make the effort to spread cheer to those around them.
On Monday, members of the San Francisco Police Department Northern Station made such an effort by giving away Christmas trees with the underlying effort to connecting to the members of the Fillmore District.
The giveaway sprung around Thanksgiving while Justin “Steezzy” Alford was approached by Captain Joseph Engler while the two participated in a free turkey giveaway event.
“He came to me in the middle of the event and said, 'Hey, I like what’s you’re doing you know. Let’s put something together and let’s do something for Christmas. I have an idea. I know where I can get some trees from and we can get some toys and we can put it together,'” Alford said.
In just three weeks, the founder and CEO of the non-profit Steezzy Cares partnered with the local precinct to put together an event that would bring members of the neighborhood together.
“We're giving out Christmas trees that you can see behind us. We’ve got jumpers for the kids. We’ve got face painting. And we’re giving out toys up there. We got the DJ who’s going to come out,” he told us.
While Alford executed the plan, it was actually hatched by Captain Engler who wanted to reach out to the parents and children in the area that he serves.
“”That’s what it’s all about. It’s about the kids and that’s what we’re doing out here,” said Captain Engler. “Isn't this wonderful? I mean there’s a great history in the Fillmore District, but there have been times where there have been trouble on this block. This block is turning around and it’s turning around the right why by lifting people up.”
In an area that’s seen its share of issues that have kept officers on their toes, Captain Engler decided that policing involves more than donning a gun and a badge, but through community and conversations.
“I mean when you look at the children and they’re happy and they’re joyful and there’s trust and they see police officers and police officers are somebody that they can talk to and they can have a conversation about what position they want to play in football,” he said.
“I think that it’s awesome that the organization Steezzy Cares comes through here, brings trees, toys for the kids. I think it’s great,” said life-long resident Lynette Mackey, who attended the event with two of her children.
Alford said this is the first time that he had organized a Christmas event for his community.
“I just see how it brings everybody together and all the neighborhood together and it just makes me feel better to be able to do that right here in my own neighborhood where I grew up," he said.
Baron Wilson with the Golden State Warriors spoke to the crowd and Black Santa made an appearance.
A group called the Guardsmen donated the trees and an organization called Another Planet Entertainment donated the toys that were given to the children who attended.
DJ Black Marc with KMEL, A. Philip Randolph Institute, the San Francisco Rec & Parks Dept. and San Francisco Housing Authority contributed to the event.