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Police Athletic League provides food and fun for affected Coney Island youth

Major league help — Police Athletic League reaches out to Coney kids

Brooklyn Daily

Coney Island’s a playground once more!

The Police Athletic League set up a fun zone in the parking lot of MCU Park at Surf Avenue and W. 19th Street on Nov. 24 and 25 in an effort to reach the younger victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“Most of the focus so far has been on the adults in the area,” said Richard Guevara, director of field operations for the 98-year-old NYPD-affiliated charity. “We wanted to focus on the kids. We wanted to give them a place to go and things to do to keep their minds off the tragedy.”

Kids as young as 11 and as old as 17 played board games and made arts and crafts inside a pair of heated and lighted tents, while others participated in soccer, flag football, and jump roping matches outdoors. Meanwhile, Athletic League volunteers gave out water, hot chocolate, cookies, and crackers to the children and their families — with some lucky mothers even getting free manicures from the good Samaritans while they watched their kids have fun. And Holy Trinity Church from Whitestone, Queens, dropped off 700 sandwiches for the victims to eat.

Guevara said 60 kids joined in the fun, with as many as 40 more passing by just to get food. Volunteers with Americorps and the Federal Emergency Management Agency also swung by to warm up and relax between shifts.

“The tent became more than just activities for kids. It became a place for people to converge and just chat and interact,” said Guevara, who is awaiting approval to set up similar activities in the parking lot in weekends to come. “The idea is to set up a safe haven and an oasis for the kids and families affected in the area, and the people who’ve come to help.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman

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Reader Feedback

EC from Bronx says:
Organizing the play programs for kids was a great idea! Hope to see it expand soon.
Nov. 28, 2012, 4:13 pm

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