Wanted: Boxes of Cereal

GPD Community Service Officer Amy Tate with carts filled with cereal boxes donated by American Legion Post 288, Veterans of Foreign Wars 1614 and Glendale Moose Lodge 641.
Photo provided by GPD

The Glendale Police Dept. is working with the community to help make breakfast a little easier for as many families as they can.

 By Mary O’KEEFE

Every year GPD Community Service Officer Amy Tate looks for community events that help support families ­– and she loves working with elementary schools. Last year GPD hosted “Big Saturday” where it spent the day with volunteers and fourth and fifth grade students. Many volunteers were from the Glendale Community College Scholars Program; they painted bright murals throughout the school. These big projects have a goal of fostering connections between students and officers while supporting kids.

This year’s Cereal Box Drive was something Tate had heard about and then researched. She found that many schools that held this donation drive added a fun domino effect to the project.

“I was doing research about using cereal boxes as dominos,” she said.

The plan is to take all the boxes of cereal that are collected through the deadline of May 31 and then on June 1 put them in a line and, like dominos, let them fall.

“I didn’t realize how many different sizes of [boxed] cereal there was,” she said.

So Tate and volunteers are taking all the boxes donated, separating them by size and will then line them up along a Jefferson Elementary School hallway and into the gym area. On June 1 students will line up with the boxes and will watch as the domino effect takes off, ending in the gym. The domino is an example of cause and effect – not just of one box falling into another but as the cause and effect of how donating food helps others.

When Tate worked traffic with GPD, Jefferson Elementary (located at 1540 5th St. in Glendale) was part of the area she patrolled. She had always wanted to do something at the school and the Cereal Box Drive seemed to work perfectly. The school has a very active PTA that has been very supportive of the event.

“I called other schools around the nation that had done this and asked [everything from] how they stored the boxes before the event and how to keep track of all of them,” she said. There was a variety of ideas. “Everyone had their own version of having kids do this.”

Tate reached out for help to Target, Trader Joe’s, Glendale car dealerships and local stores. There is even a bit of a competition among the non-sworn staff at GPD as to how many boxes they can collect. Tate also reached out to Glendale Neighborhood Watch programs, churches and banks. All were very eager to support the event.

Local organizations, like American Legion Post 288, Veterans of Foreign Wars 1614 and Glendale Moose Lodge 641, donated 200 boxes of cereal.

Some in other states that have done this event have collected huge numbers of boxes – into the thousands – and lined the hallways of schools. GPD is still looking of more donations. After the domino-type display the cereal will be distributed to benefit families at local schools as well as seniors.

“I am also the senior liaison for the [Glendale] Parks Dept. and we [gather] non-perishable food for Thanksgiving,” she said.

Tate has wanted to support the senior program throughout the year, not just during holidays, and this cereal donation works well with that program.

Although the response has been good more cereal boxes are needed. Tate added they do not need extra large boxes but just regular sized cereal boxes.

Unopened boxes of cereal can be dropped off at the Glendale Police Dept., 131 N. Isabel Street, Glendale 91206 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Prom Plus Club will be collecting cereal boxes at the Fire House youth center, 2563 Foothill Blvd., La Crescenta from 10 a.m. to noon on May 20. Boxes can also be dropped off at the CV Weekly office, 3800 La Crescenta Ave. #206 (please call when arriving and someone will come to the parking lot to get the donation).

GPD has many other community outreach events planned including its gun buyback program on June 3 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guns can be turned in anonymously, either working or not. The unloaded guns can be brought to the Civic Center Parking Garage, 650 E. Wilson Ave. Guns turned in to GPD will be exchanged for a Target gift card.

Then in September the Touch-A-Truck event will be returning to the Elks Lodge at 120 E. Colorado St. in Glendale. The event will start with a breakfast sponsored by the Elks with the proceeds going to support the American Cancer Society. This event was first held last year when Tate was researching fun outreach events. Kids, and adults, filled the parking lot at the Glendale Elks Lodge to get an up-close look at a variety of vehicles including garbage trucks, fire engines, Montrose Search and Rescue truck and much more. The event is in the planning stages at present; check back with CVW for more details as they become available.

For more information, contact Amy Tate at (818) 548-4015.