By Paul Thompson
Hundreds of new faces showed up at the KCPD Police Athletic League (PAL) Center at 1801 White Ave. on Monday, August 6 for the free Back to School Field Day.
Attendees began lining up outside the door roughly an hour before the event, which offered free school supplies, haircuts, games, backpacks, sports physicals, ice cream and pizza from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.
“Kids were lined up at the door starting at 3:00 p.m., so people were waiting an hour just to come in,” said Sgt. Sam Spencer. “It seemed like people were excited about the free supplies, the pizza, the haircuts, and the sports physicals.”
Spencer hadn’t counted the tickets when he spoke with the Northeast News, but he estimated that between 350 to 400 people contributed to finishing the 65 pizzas ordered for the event. Out of the attendees, Spencer said that roughly half were new faces at the PAL Center.
“A lot of kids signed up for programs today,” Spencer said. “We had quite a few for dance, some for boxing, and a lot for football. Football is starting up next week.”
Though the PAL program targets the youth in the area, the police organization’s back to school event also gave parents a helping hand.
“These are tough times for a lot of people; this stuff is very expensive,” Spencer said. “Any times someone can get a little help every now and then, it’s awesome. The parents were all smiles coming in the door, and we let them have pizza and stuff, too.”
If you missed the back to school event, Spencer says that there are still plenty of opportunities to take advantage of PAL programs in the coming months. For instance, the PAL Center hosts the PAL Nights program every Friday and Saturday night through September 29, from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The event includes a rotating list of featured activities and complimentary dinner. On Friday August 10, Spencer said PAL will provide Kentucky Fried Chicken; on Saturday, August 11, attendees will be brought Firehouse Subs.
Attendees must be PAL members, which costs $10 per year. Membership forms are available at the PAL Center (1801 White Ave.) or by emailing Sam Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s just a place to hang out with cops, and it’s a safe place to be,” Spencer said. “Every Friday and Saturday night we’re here.”