South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Still time to get a free Thanksgiving dinner delivered by Pittsburgh's finest


The Nov. 16 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council began with a reminder about the “Get Stuffed with Love” program that aims to ensure that no city residents go without Thanksgiving dinner.

Again this year, the delivery of free, warm meals on Thanksgiving Day will expand to serve everyone in need in all of the city police zones. There are no income or age requirements.

This will be the eighth year the zone’s community relations Officer Christine Luffey will be organizing the delivery of the meals. The funding comes from donations.

So far, there have been requests for over 450 meals, while preparations have begun for 3,000 meals.

Requests in zones other than Zone 3 are low, such as only 11 from Zone 6.

Officer Luffey asked that meeting attendees let her know the names of any city residents in need of a Thanksgiving meal. She will take requests until Wednesday, Nov. 25.

“This is truly a wonderful project,” she said.

The food is prepared by volunteers from the South Side Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, and others. Cooking occurs at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in South Side.

Volunteers are needed to help prepare food from 4 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 23-25. However, no more volunteers are needed to ride in officers’ cars to assist them in delivering the dinners.

Attendees said they would help spread news of the program to organizations and schools and churches.

As for questions for new Zone 3 Commander Karen Dixon, a Mount Washington resident said following a robbery in Grandview Park he told the officer in charge about working cameras there.

The commander said she would also let the detectives know about the cameras.

She also said she is very aware of the spike in burglaries in Mount Washington.

In the South Side Flats, she said there has been a decrease in thefts from vehicles. A young woman caught stealing from vehicles said she was a heroin addict looking to support her habit.

Also regarding the Flats, Commander Dixon said the police had a strong presence there over Halloween weekend. There was also an extra hour of drinking as clocks were turned back an hour due to the end of Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. on Nov. 1, or the Sunday after Halloween.

There was sufficient staffing, with everything handled very well, she said. There were a lot of cars tagged, and arrests.

To an attendee’s comment of drug activity on Shiloh St., the commander said she would do what she can to get a beat officer there.

A Mount Washington resident said she is trying to get more cameras installed by businesses.

To a question of how 311 calls are coming to the zone, Commander Dixon said they are coming in steadily.

Regarding the number of city officers, which is less than recommended for a full force, an attendee said as city budget hearings are going on, council should be told to put more overtime on.

If they won’t hire more officers, pay overtime, he said.

“Let’s get creative with how we think,” said Ken Wolfe, president of the public safety council. He suggested having civilians or retirees at the Zone 3 desk, or no officers at construction sites, for example.

An attendee next discussed an incident at Morse Gardens in South Side in which a handicapped guest parked in one of two off-street handicap parking spots. The spots have signs that state the parking is for Morse Gardens residents only.

When the police were called by a resident who lived in the building, the officers took the side of the motorist with the handicap sticker, even though the sign clearly said for residents only.

The attendee wanted to know why the officers sided with the guest, who clearly was in the wrong. A confrontation ensued between the resident and the guest.

Commander Dixon said the officers may have been uncomfortable with making a handicapped person move from the spot.

She said she will look into the matter. But if it happens again, the attendee should ask to speak with a supervisor.


Reader Comments

SadTurkey writes:

Hi Im not sure where to reach out at..and normally hate asking for help but love thanksgiving.I am staying with a friend over the holiday and were unable to afford the things go make dinner.We live in brookline.Any suggestions?


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