Chief Press Foundation
For over twelve years, Chief Press and the police department have worked to positively impact the relationship between the police and the children in Liberty City. Chief Press created a charitable fund at the Key Biscayne Community Foundation in 2004 to raise money for the purchase of hundreds of toys for Liberty City children and hundreds of turkeys for Liberty City seniors during the Christmas season. Chief Press and his officers personally handout the toys to the hundreds of Liberty City children that line up to receive what is most likely the only gift they will receive. The following week, the Chief is back in Liberty City to handout more than 400 turkeys to senior citizens, ensuring they can enjoy a holiday meal with their families. As the support for the Chief Press Foundation has grown, so have the events they sponsor for the Liberty City families. The annual “Christmas in July” and “Liberty City Tennis and Golf Day” are examples of major events that have grown with the foundation. Christmas in July, held each year in Key Biscayne offers Liberty City children and their family members an exciting day filled with various activities and food, culminating with the Chief providing the kids with new uniforms, shoes and school supplies for the upcoming school year. Moreover, at the Liberty City Tennis and Golf day, the children are exposed to activities and learning two sports that are not readily accessible for them in their inner city neighborhood. At the end of the afternoon, they are each provided a sports bag with both tennis and golf goodies.
Building on Chief Press’ charitable work, in 2013, the Village of Key Biscayne partnered with the Miami Children’s Initiative, (M.C.I.), to create a sister-city partnership with Liberty City. Through this partnership, both communities strive to share cultural ideas and differences, and learn from one another. The main objective is two-fold: 1) provide better outcomes for children in underserved communities; and 2) provide opportunities for neighbors of different cultures and socioeconomic levels to learn and care about each other. What is most important here is to understand the dynamic of a very wealthy community partnering with one of South Florida’s most economically deprived areas. It is clearly unheard of and as such, is a testament to the residents and leaders from the Key.
“It is really difficult to describe the reason I focus so much of our assistance efforts towards the children and senior citizens of the ‘Pork and Beans’ community in Liberty City,” said Chief Press. “The toughest part of the toy giveaway is simply looking into the eyes and watching the expressions from the children. Many of them have that ‘1000 yard-stare’ that comes from seeing the world through a reality of fear and helplessness. Most of these children have never had an opportunity to break the poverty and welfare cycle that they are born into. That creates a feeling of total despair that toy giveaways can’t overcome. Cops traditionally have a strong presence in their lives, and most of those interactions are not positive. I figure if I can reach 5% of those kids, and place police officers in a different and more positive light, then I have accomplished something special that can be built upon in time. By building on these relationships, police officers are safer working in their community, and residents are safer and receiving a more personalized law enforcement response.”
“The seniors have also experienced a tremendous amount of difficulty in their lives, yet they seem more thankful for the assistance than people who have a lot more. They smile, cry, and show thanks in ways that could easily bring tears to an outsider’s eye. Each time I bring someone new from our Village to these events they speak of it being a life-altering event. Being able to provide some “holiday relief” to these children and seniors keeps me grounded, focused on what is really important in life, and, most importantly, it reminds me of how thankful I am for my own blessings.”
For more information or if you are interested in supporting Chief Press Foundation, please contact Melissa White at the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, 305-361-2770.