Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing (PMHA) hosted ‘National Night Out’ (NNO) a national campaign which promotes positive relationships between law enforcement agencies and communities. The event, which was held in front of the 14th Street Community Center in Portsmouth, could not be more timely.
Tara Freeland, coordinator of PMHA Section 8, said NNO sends the message of friendliness among police officers and the community.
“This is called National Night Out and it is program that takes place all across the country. It is a community event to rally the community,” Freeland. “The Portsmouth Police Department, and the Portsmouth Fire Department are here, and it is to help improve community relations between them. This event is important to show not only as PMHA, but to show that we are community friendly, that the police are community friendly, and that if something is going on, people are not afraid to report it, if they are needed to do so.”
Captain Debby Jenkins of Portsmouth Police Department said NNO is a great way to meet the needs of local children.
“I think that is a very good community event,” Jenkins said. “It gets the kids out, they are playing on the inflatables over there. They are getting food, they are getting schools supplies, and it is great the PMHA is sponsoring this because there are a lot of kids that cannot afford some of these things.”
Jenkins also said interacting with the children in the community is one of the most important aspects of the event.
“It all gives the children an opportunity to interact with us,” Jenkins said. “There was a young lady earlier who was afraid to come over and talk to me, and someone brought her over to me, and she was able to see that we are friendly, and here to help, and that we are not mean. With all of the things that are going around in the nation, I just think this event is such a great help, and I am so glad that PMHA does this.”
Tanya Malone, PMHA assistant manager of Farley Square and Lett Terrace, said PMHA provided 100 back packs to children in preparation for the upcoming school year.
“Every year PMHA has distributed back packs to school age children in grades kindergarten through 12 for the children as they prepare to go back to school,” Malone said. “We start off with the children that live in our development, and then we extend it out into the community. PMHA sponsors this back pack give away, and the back packs are all filled with school supplies. We have had an awesome turn out this year for this event.”
Richard Pragmore, firefighter of PFD, said he is glad to connect with children in the community in a positive way.
“I think that this event is great, because most of the time, when these kids see us something bad is going on,” Pragmore said. “So it is good for them to see the fire trucks here, to see us here and let them know that we support our community.”
PMHA provided food and plenty of snacks for children to enjoy during the ‘National Night Out’ event held Tuesday.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.