Police dispatchers give Easter baskets to family shelter

Charles Mostoller

A certain lieutenant within the Philadelphia Police Department has a real affinity for Easter, and he’s digging into his own pockets to make the holiday a fun reality for some disadvantaged kids across town.

Lt. Ezekiel Williams has been with the department 18 years. Easter is one of his favorite holidays. Chocolate Easter eggs are his favorite candy, and for the last three years, he’s been personally putting together Easter baskets for the Salvation Army.

This year, he decided to ask his coworkers if they wanted to join in, and thus spawns the police department’s first annual Easter basket giveaway.

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Just after 2 p.m. on Thursday, several member of police radio’s 911 dispatch team assembled more than 80 Easter baskets to be donated to kids at The Red Shield Family Shelter, at 715 N. Broad St.

Newborns up through kids in their teens who live at the Red Shield Shelter will receive these Easter baskets, said James Segar, the shelter house manager.

“It’s going to thrill them,” he told Metro.

Each basket contains a small toy, coloring books, sunglasses, flashlights, crayons, jelly beans and, of course, chocolate bunnies.

Williams said his intent behind the project was to bring to the forefront the willingness and dedication of the police dispatchers and radio personnel who impact the community outside of the radio room.

“It’s a win-win because they can now put faces to people they’re talking to when they take a 911 call, and these kids wouldn’t normally get an Easter basket,” said Williams.

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“It’s a good morale booster for the co-workers up in the 911 room, as well as letting the community see that we not only give by answering 911 calls, but in another way as well…we just get the satisfaction of bringing some smiles to kids’ faces.”

This Sunday marks the 85thannual Easter Promenade down South Street, where a sea of bonnets, bows and bunnies hop from Passyunk/South to Headhouse Square for a best-dressed competition led by Henri David, the world’s tallest bunny, the Easter Bunny, Mr. and Mrs. Cottontail and the Philadelphia Freedom Band.

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