Posted December 20, 2023

Temple University Department of Public Safety hosts children’s holiday party

Temple police officers hosted their 26th annual holiday party in honor of the late retired Temple Police Cpt. Eileen Bradley. Held Sunday, Dec. 17, at the Liacouras Center, It included gift giveaways, interactive games, face painting and more.

The Department of Public Safety staff pictured.
Photography By: 
Matt Petrillo
Temple police officers hosted their 26th annual holiday party with gift giveaways, interactive games, face painting and more at the Liacouras Center.

Temple University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) hosted its 26th annual children’s holiday party on Sunday, Dec. 17, at the Liacouras Center, where more than 500 children who live in North Philadelphia stopped by for a Sunday full of food, gifts and fun. 

“We host the holiday party every year because every child deserves a new gift this time of year,” said Temple Police Officer Leroy Wimberly. “To bridge the gap between the children in the community and Temple police is a way to give children a vision and hope that you can come to us for help and resources.”

This year’s holiday party was held in honor of the late Eileen Bradley, a retired captain with the Temple University Police Department and a treasured figure on campus. She passed earlier this month. It was Bradley who helped launch the first holiday party in 1997. It’s grown every year since.

“Eileen was a friend, colleague and beloved mentor to so many within the department,” said Vice President for Public Safety Jennifer Griffin. “We know that she’s looking down on us right now and smiling at the number of children who came, interacted with Temple police officers and had a great time.”

DPS acquired more than 700 gifts for the party by partnering with Toys for Tots and raising money from the Temple Urban Bike Team, which is a Temple police program that teaches bike safety classes to youth that live in North Philadelphia.

“We’re proud of the work our police officers do every day to help families who cannot afford to buy gifts for Christmas,” said Griffin. 

The party was free for the community, providing young people with music, food and pictures with Santa Claus.

The Montgomery Prayer Group brought several children who “couldn’t wait to get here,” said Rhonda Saunders, a leader within the prayer group. “There are so many activities here for the kids and it’s great that Temple does this for them and the community.”

Nyla Boyd, 9, said her favorite part was getting to see Santa Claus and picking out new toys and a new winter coat.

“This wouldn’t be possible without Toys for Tots for Burlington County,” said Wimberly.

“I just think it’s important that the children know that they’re loved,” said Gina Capate of the Burlington County Toys for Tots. “Every child deserves a Christmas and we just want it to be a great time of year for the children who live in the neighborhood.”

Monica Hankins-Padilla, of external relations for DPS, said the holiday party takes several months of planning.

“We collect toys and do fundraising almost all year long for this one event,” she said. “Many of the same children here have been coming for years. It’s an event they look forward to and it’s always a great feeling to see them come back.”

Some organizations that donated include Toys for Tots, TastyKake, Herr’s Potato Chips, Coca Cola and many more. On Saturday, several tow trucks with Tony DePaul Highway Construction dropped off about 300 toys. 

Several Temple-affiliated organizations were involved with the party, including Temple student volunteers and the Temple University Black Alumni Alliance, which donated books and board games for the children.