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Joining forces

Group donates care packages for police officers to distribute

Bonnie Pfeffer, the leader of Arise in Christ, a local evangelist group, delivers care packages to Altoona Police Department Sgt. Matt Plummer on Friday. The care packages will be donated to displaced people in need. Mirror photo by Ike Fredregill

With 30 new care packages for those in need, the Altoona Police Department is well situated to continue its community policing efforts, APD Sgt. Matt Plummer said.

Donated by the members of Arise in Christ, an evangelical group that meets at St. Mark’s Catholic Church, the care packages were created to help homeless people around the city, said Bonnie Pfeffer, Arise in Christ group leader.

“We’ve put together other packages and handed them out ourselves before,” Pfeffer said. “But my son put us in contact with Sergeant Plummer, and what a godsend. It makes me feel better that they will distribute these packages this year, because they work with the people in need every day.”

The packages include first aid kits, snacks, drinks, tissue paper, a comb, a toothbrush, toothpaste, candy and Bible, as well as directions to essential services for displaced people, such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society Soup Kitchen and shelter locations.

Pfeffer said the contents of the care packages were valued at about $25 per bag, which was paid for by Arise in Christ members.

Arise in Christ member Karan Pasquariello (left), Altoona Police Department Sgt. Matt Plummer and Arise in Christ group leader Bonnie Pfeffer itemize the contents of care packages Friday. Mirror photo by Ike Fredregill

“We spent all Tuesday night putting them together,” Pfeffer said. “But it took quite some time to get all the items together.”

Plummer said the packages would help police provide support to people they encounter in their daily work without requiring taxpayer funds.

“Community policing is incredibly important to us, and we’re out there doing it every day,” he said. “But, we simply don’t have the funds to do something like this, so we are grateful to wonderful organizations and volunteers like Bonnie for their contributions.”

The packages are slated to be kept in police cruisers and handed out throughout the year as officers encounter people in need, Plummer said. Homelessness is a challenge for some Altoona area residents year-round, but Plummer said the number of displaced people increases during the summer months.

Bonnie said the packages would not only help the impoverished, but also, they might improve the public perception of police within the community.

“We need these men and women to keep us safe,” she said. “And, I am so grateful to them for everything they do.”

Mirror Staff Writer Ike Fredregill is at 814-946-7458.

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