By: RJ Franceschini, Follow South Jersey Intern
VINELAND, N.J. – The City of Vineland celebrated National Night Out with attractions for people of all ages. N.J. State Police collaborated with local police and fire departments to organize the event.
The event held August 2 at Vineland High School, had attractions such as a car show, free hamburgers, hotdogs, and corn, a police K-9 demonstration, and even a helicopter that landed and took off during the event. Officer Derrick Magee of the Vineland Police Department worked with his six year-old K-9 Fifa to demonstrate a chase down apprehension as well as using the dog to get a subject out of a vehicle.
“It’s an event put on by your local police department to bring the community out, meet different vendors, show off some of our capabilities, our dogs or motorcycles,” said Officer Magee. “Just a couple different things that we do and then get to offer the community a nice free event.”
With all the entertainment aspects present, organizations and businesses also took the time to advertise and interact with the community. One of the organizations present was Yi’s Karate of Vineland, which not only showed demonstrations of their martial art from young students, but also gave out various prizes in the spirit of the event. This ranged from free lessons and t-shirts to nunchucks and a full uniform.
“For us, the significance of National Night Out is to be a part of the community,” said instructor Samuel Llabres. “To be out here to be with people to give them an experience of what we have to offer and just be with some good people.”
A new addition to National Night Out for Vineland this year was the free book drive from Vineland Public Schools. Anyone could walk up to the many tables of books that were used in the classroom and take as many as they could carry.
“National Night Out is a night to bring the community together,” said Vineland superintendent Alfonso Llano Jr. “And it’s a way to celebrate local heroes, our police department, our firefighters, and also our educators.”
The books being given out are ones that will be donated in a monthly Community Partnership Action Committee. However, the district decided that National Night Out would also be a great opportunity to give out more books.
“It is the first year we’re here as a school district with our own tables and tents,” said Llano. “We’ve been here before to support as a participant, but now we’re like one of the attractions.”
The giving continued with free food cooked by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Vineland Fire Department and distributed by volunteers from the Calvary Chapel of Vineland. Volunteer and member of the chapel, Johnny Procopio has been working National Night Out for the past two years with his fellow peers preparing and giving out food.
“We’re out here giving out food to the community,” said Procopio. “It’s just amazing to see the community all come out for one big night.”
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