Upcoming holiday events were among the focus at the Zone 3 Public Safety Council meeting on Nov. 20.
Crime prevention Officer Christine Luffey is in her sixth year of organizing the delivery of free, warm meals on Thanksgiving Day in Zones 3 and 6, and Mount Oliver.
The purpose of the “Get Stuffed With Love” program is to ensure no residents go without Thanksgiving dinner.
The program teams with the South Side Rotary Club and others. The Rivers Casino, for instance, is donating 100 turkeys.
Until noon on Nov. 27, Officer Luffey will be taking orders. Residents requesting the free meals should call Officer Luffey at 412-488-8425 and leave their name, phone number, and number of dinners.
There are no income or age requirements. As of Nov. 20, she had 1,000 requests for the free turkey dinners.
“There is a lot of need in our community,” she said.
Cooking begins on Nov. 25. Deliveries begin at 8 a.m. on Thanskgiving morning. Volunteers should go to St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, 105 S. 19th St., South Side, to pick up deliveries.
Off-duty officers will also be making deliveries.
“They get to see police in a totally different light,” she said of meal recipients.
Another officer is in charge of the inaugural Zone 1 program.
In other holiday news, there will be a Holiday Open House at the office of state Rep. Erin Molchany, 900 Brookline Blvd., from 2 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 30.
It will feature cookie decorating, food drive for the local food bank, help with applications for heating assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and property tax and rent rebates.
Refreshments will be served.
Attendees are asked to bring a new toy or gift for needy families. There is a high need for toys for older children ages 10 to 12.
In local crime news, a Mount Washington resident reported apartment houses on Bertha St. were vandalized with gang graffiti. There is also gang graffiti in the alley of Havelock Way.
Officer Luffey said it is important for the owner of the apartment buildings to file a police report.
To a question about cars being parked on 21st St. in South Side on garbage pick-up day, Officer Luffey said to call 911.
Barbara Rudiak of the South Side Community Council said the group is working on addressing a myriad of local concerns, such as parking issues.
Officer Luffey said a group of senior women in South Side told her recently they would like to start a block watch, but that there are so many rentals no one would join.
Ken Wolfe, public safety council president, said that could be overcome by including the streets around a block watch area.
Ms. Rudiak said while knocking on doors regarding a proposed permit parking area, she encountered many young professionals might be interested in joining a block watch.
Liz Style of the Mayor’s Office said the “Block Watch in a Box” tool kit is available, containing all the information one needs to start or strengthen a block watch. The information includes resources like neighborhood and public safety partners, city departments’ phone numbers, funding opportunities, suggested meeting agendas, and more.
Information on the block watch kit can be found at: www.pittsburghpa.gov/publicsafety.
In other news, an attendee reported there is a suspicious beat-up, black pick-up truck with a West Virginia license plate which frequently comes and goes at a particular house in Overbrook.
Officer Luffey said to call her with the plate number.
Another attendee said a gray Jeep, with an expired license plate, has been abandoned for months at 18th and Carey streets in the South Side. Besides being an eyesore, it is taking up a parking space.
Officer Luffey said to call her with the dates of the plate and the inspection sticker. If both are expired for more than 90 days the car may be towed.
An attendee reported there is a missing stop sign at the corner of 14th and Sarah streets in South Side.
She said she and other area residents would also like a new stop sign at 13th and Sarah streets.
Mr. Wolfe said the city traffic engineer will look into it if the residents petition for it. Others suggested also contacting 311 and city Councilman Bruce Kraus’ office about a new sign.
Next, Justin Wasser, of the office of State Rep. Molchany, said the state House passed a transportation funding bill which provides funds for state roads, projects, and more, and for public transit.
It also lifts the cap on the oil company franchise tax paid by fuel distributors, which will result in higher gasoline prices for motorists. Mr. Wasser said the latter would be small.
Regarding public transit, Mr. Wasser and Mr. Wolfe said if PAT threatens to eliminate a stop that is vital for a neighborhood, residents should keep calling PAT and elected officials’ offices.
“Make noise around election time to elected officials,” Mr. Wasser said.