A Gift to the Bal Harbour Police Legacy Foundation Funds Holiday Cheer for Local Miami School
The Bal Harbour Police Legacy Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aims to bridge the gap between law enforcement and inner-city kids. In December 2019, a gift from The Finker-Frenkel Family helped the BHPLF fund their annual toy drive, which provided every child at Miami’s Phillis Wheatley Elementary School with a personalized holiday gift. Additional donations from the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation in 2019 enabled the BHPLF to send supplies and volunteers to the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
The holidays were a little brighter this year for students at Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in Miami, Florida.
With the help of a donation from the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, the Bal Harbour Police Legacy Foundation was able to provide each child at the school with a wrapped and personalized holiday gift, a gesture that means a lot to many of the children at Phillis Wheatley, a school in which 99% of students come from families at or below the poverty line and 29% of students are homeless, according to the Miami Times.
“A lot of these kids are in foster homes,” said officer Jeff Hatcher of the Bal Harbour Police Department, who helped found the BHPLF more than two years ago. “Many of them don’t have the opportunity over the holidays to open gifts, and a lot of toy drives just give kids what is donated. This year, we actually had a wish list for the kids and were able to give every kid in the school a present.”
After taking toy donations from the public and shopping to fill out the rest of the wish list, officer Hatcher and his colleagues hosted a “Cops and Kids” day, taking the toys back to the police station and engaging kids and parents from the Bal Harbour community to come and help wrap the gift haul.
“We got the community to come out and help wrap gifts, and they were able to interact with the police in a positive way,” said officer Hatcher. From there, they went to give out the toys at the school – with one officer dressed as Santa and one as an elf. They handed out milk and cookies as the kids unwrapped their gifts.
The holiday toy drive is far from the only way the BHPLF helps support the Phillis Wheatley community. The Foundation also sponsored a back-to-school drive for Phillis Wheatley students this past August, which raised enough to provide every kid in the school with one pair of uniform pants, two tops, a backpack and essential school supplies like notebooks, pens and folders.
During Thanksgiving, the BHPLF provided 125 low-income families with turkeys and ingredients for side dishes, and officer Hatcher says the department has plans to partner with a local barber and shoe store in the future, who can help provide free haircuts and shoes for kids who may not otherwise be able to afford them.
Officer Hatcher sees events like this as a way to give troubled kids another view of law enforcement.
“We want this community to see that we are not just about taking people to jail,” he said. “Kids should see police and know that we are their friends, we are there to help them.”
To learn more about the Bal Harbour Police Legacy Foundation, please visit their Facebook page.