South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Volunteers, city police prepare for Thanksgiving, Ferguson verdict


The Nov. 19 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council meeting included an update on the “Get Stuffed With Love” program so no residents go without a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, and news of the police department’s pro-active steps regarding the pending grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.

The meeting was held in the Zone 3 police station, 830 E. Warrington Ave.

Crime prevention Officer Christine Luffey said this year the delivery of free, warm meals on Thanksgiving Day will expand to serve everyone in need in the city of Pittsburgh.

In past years, Officer Luffey and volunteers delivered meals to needy residents in Zones 3 and 6, and Mount Oliver.

Last year, more than 1,600 dinners were distributed. This year, 3,000 deliveries are being planned in all the zones.

If the need exceeds 3,000, enough food will be obtained for 4,000 people, she said.

This will be her seventh year of organizing the delivery of the meals.

Officer Luffey and the other zone officers will be taking orders until the very end.

Residents requesting the free meals in Zone 3 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.

“I can’t say no to someone who needs our help,” she said.

The food is cooked at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church by volunteers from the South Side Chamber of

Commerce, the Rotary, and others. The money for the food comes from donations.

Zones 3 and 6 deliveries will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

Volunteers should go to St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, 105 S. 19th St., South Side, to pick up deliveries.

Volunteers are also needed to help with preparations in the church kitchen on Nov. 25 and 26 from 4 to 8 p.m .; and on Thanksgiving morning to help with packaging.

Next, a Mount Washington resident said car and truck windows have been broken on Grandview Ave.

He also reported that motorists continue to park on corners on Kambach and Judicial streets. Last year, fire trucks could not make the bend because of the parked cars when responding to a fire.

Continuing on with the agenda, Zone 3 Commander Catherine McNeilly introduced police officer Eric Baker, who is doing a rotation as a community resource officer in the zone for a few weeks. He is a patrol officer in Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights.

To contact him at Zone 3, email:

Public safety council president Ken Wolfe said the city is going with two community resource officers per zone, which is the first change under new police Chief Cameron McLay.

“We now have two Christines,” he said, referring to Officer Luffey.

Mr. Wolfe said beginning the next day, city police officers would be working 12-hour shifts due to the pending grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri. A third shift will have officers throughout the city to be dispatched where needed from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Ferguson case involves the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in August by a white police officer. The grand jury will decide if charges should be brought against the officer.

Liz Style, of the city’s Dept. of Public Safety, said the police chief, Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar, and Mayor Bill Peduto want to be prepared for any potential criminal activities while protecting the First Amendment rights of those staging peaceful protests.

“This is a pro-active effort,” she said.

Residents should call 911 if police services are needed.

Commander McNeilly said peace rallies are scheduled in the area in the next few days.

In announcements, Santa Claus will be at Grandview Park at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12. Christmas carols will be sung by local residents.

There will be a “Breakfast with Santa” at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 20 for children ages 5 to 12 who reside in the Arlington Heights housing community. It will be held in Arlington Heights.

Mr. Wolfe announced the public safety council elections are approaching. He is president, and his father is the treasurer. While two new officers are needed, four would be great, he said.

Residents in the zone may nominate themselves. Email nominations to: .

In conclusion, he said a January or February 2015 meeting will be held at Zone 3. Then, the meetings will be held every other month in different communities.

Typically, meetings are not held in January or August. But he might change that to no meetings in February or September instead, he said, depending on feedback.

The next Zone 3 Public Safety Council meeting will be on Dec. 17 in the Zone 3 police station.


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