Police hand out groceries to needy


Distributing groceries to the needy one afternoon last week through a local food ministry was a way for Philadelphia Police officers and personnel to give back to the community, Police Chief Eric Lyons said.

“We have helped them before with traffic control when they are passing out meals and groceries,” Lyons said. 

“I reached out to them and thought it was a good opportunity to give back to the community and do some community policing.”

About 15 PPD officers, dispatchers and others volunteered their time to hand out the groceries on April 13.

Open Arms is a local ministry that started in 2012. The organization passes out hot meals and groceries two times a month. 

“It was a great opportunity to get out and interact with the public in a positive way,” Lyons said. “We hope that people can see a positive impact.”

John Bowen, a co-chair of the ministry, said that they were happy to have the officers out to help. He said they handed out about 350 bags of groceries.

“He called us,” Bowen said. “I think he called about a month and a half ago and said he would like to serve in any capacity they could.”

He said they have received a positive reaction.

“It was great to see them out there,” Bowen said. “You could see the responses of people coming through and I think they were delighted to see our police engaged in the community like that.”

Mayor James Young helped with the distribution.

“It was a great thing to be part of,” Young said. “Those officers volunteered their time and energy. Lately, it seems like officers have gotten something of a bad rap and this gave people the opportunity to see them out serving the community and being real.”

Lyons said that the department does not currently have another volunteer project but looks forward to finding other ways for his officers and staff to engage with the public.

“We look forward to volunteering in the future and finding other aspects of the community we can help in as well,” Lyons said.

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