HALLANDALE BEACH - By Mayor Joy Cooper - Giving thanks to so many who step up to make this a better community - This week, many of us will be celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday. We will gather around a table with loved ones to give thanks for all that we have. Not everyone will have the same experience. Right here in Hallandale many of our residents live from pay check to pay check. Over 25% of our residents live at or below poverty levels. This is why as a city, we understand how important it is to help the many needy right here in our back yard.
For years, Paul Snow has worked tirelessly to provide food to the needy at the Hallandale Beach Food Pantry. Over 200 families weekly. We support the pantry with a monetary grant but he and his volunteers provide bags filled with food. This labor of love and good will makes life a bit easier for our neighbors. This week these families will get a turkey! Thanks to Vice Mayor Bill Julian who arranges a bulk purchase families will have a better Thanksgiving.
Paul is not the only person that gets paying it forward. This week Rodriguez Charites distributed over 1000 turkeys to needy families. Joe Rodriguez is a wonderful veteran who served in the marines. As a local business owner that does not even live in our city, he is amazingly kind. He does not even have to get involved here, but he does.
Thanksgiving would not be the same without the Austin Hepburn Center's Thanksgiving Feast. A hot meal with all the fixings is served to our seniors and other individuals who would normally be alone or worse, be hungry over the holiday. I will be there along with my colleagues serving. I would be in the dog house if I did not give a special shout out to my hubby, Dr. Harry Cooper who is the official kitchen supervisor.
If you did not get a chance to give to our friends and neighbors that are less fortunate, I am asking you now to think about doing at least “one act of kindness” over these holidays. It is so easy to make a donation of time or money. It is not just about “liking” a page or a post, put that click to work!
This past weekend many people did just that. The PAL Antique Show was on Saturday and Sunday. PAL raises money for the many youth sports programs. While the vendors pay for a spot, it could not take place without the many volunteers. Barbara Southwick always recruits a groups of ladies, many that do not even live here, to sell items. This weekend even Claire Poole and her husband were selling jewelry to raise funds for “Treats for Soldiers.” Even while still recovering from a year long illness, she worked tirelessly for others.
Also, the huge packing event took place. Stacy Napolitano organized a wonderful event with many volunteers including the Vice Mayor and I to pack 300 plus boxes for soldiers fighting overseas. Each soldier will get a gift box with snacks notes from our local schools and even hand knitted camouflage hats to keep them warm in the desert.
These acts of kindness are what makes our city and country great. With all the turmoil in the world, it is so rewarding to see individuals coming together to make someone else’s life a bit better. This is what I am thankful for, being able to meet and work side by side with these special residents. In a city of over 38,000 people, just think if we all just did one act of kindness.
Last week, the city celebrated the retirements of two of our great employees.
City Manager Renée Miller has served as our City Manager for the past years with an exemplary record. I have written about her in previous articles and still find it hard to believe that she has resigned. We all understand that she wants to spend more time with her beautiful daughter, Nina and husband, Paul. After years of working as a public servant, she deserves all the best. Not everyone realizes that being a City Manager is a 7/24/365 position, it is not 9-5. Renée will be back working part-time on January first.
The other employee is Victor DeSousa. Victor has been the lead of our senior programs at the Hepburn Center. He is an amazing individual who has dedicated his life to making other lives better. There is not one person at the center whose life has not been enriched by his caring nature. The seniors gave him a big send off on Friday. On Saturday, there was a beautiful dinner in his honor hosted by his co-workers.
I hope I have inspired you to do one thing special for someone in need over the holidays! As individuals and a city, we can always do better in making this city a better place to live.
As always, feel free to contact me anytime by cell/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or on my office number at: (954) 457-1318. I am always available. You can also e-mail me at: Joy@mayorjoycooper.com. Or: Jcooper@cohb.org.
“OpenOffice” hours on Mondays from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. as part of my constituency outreach! Feel free to come in to visit, I will be available to address the budget or any other issues, ideas or concerns you may have.