Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Shop Talk Helps Give Thanksgiving Foods Away

Irving—One Community USA, the Irving Police Department, and Vic’s Barber Shop partnered to host a Thanksgiving food give away on Friday, Nov. 19. Foods including turkeys and pies were given away in the parking lot of Vic’s Barbershop.

“The food was donated through One Community USA,” John Plunkett of the Irving Police Department said. “We discussed this with One Community USA, and we said, ‘We would like turkeys to give away for Thanksgiving.’ We did this same event at a different barbershop last year.

“We are trying to make this an annual event as long as we have the donors to provide turkeys. One Community came through for us last year, and they did the same thing this year.

“One Community USA has taken our program Shop Talk throughout the Dallas Fort Worth area, and eventually we hope to take it nationwide. We have thirty shops here in Irving, and the whole purpose of the program is to build a relationship between the police and the community.

“This program was recognized by the Department of Justice in 2019. I actually went to Washington D.C. and met with the United States Attorney General, and he recognized the Irving Police Department Shop Talk Program for what we were doing in the community by building relationships,” he said.

“One of the police officers who comes to me to get his hair cut kind of brought [this event] up and brought it to my attention,” Victor Villalobos, the owner of Vic’s Barber Shop, said. “Officer Plunkett came and talked to me about it, and we were connecting and talking. I was able to connect him to other barbers and to other barber shops too. I play a small role, but I am honored.

“We were able to give out free turkeys and pies to the community, obviously no strings attached. It was to let people know that we’re here. Also they are able to see the officers in a different way. Most of the time we see them just as law enforcement, but they see them not only as law enforcement but as somebody that is here with open arms that’s here to help people.”

Leticia Reyes, the community outreach manager for One Community USA, was involved in the planning of the event.

“We actually did this [food giveaway] last year, and we work in different cities,” Reyes said. “We work with Irving police department, Fort Worth police department, Arlington police department, Carrolton, Euless, DeSoto, and The Colony.

“We try to have different events throughout the year.We have back to school events and school supplies for the children. Free haircuts from the barbers. For the holidays, we’re giving away turkeys.

“We are always planning events. We’ve got some events hopefully for Christmas for families in need. We’ve got a lot of support. We’re getting a lot of participation from the community.”

“I think [the event] was very well organized,” Robert Benitez, a director of One Community USA, said. “The officers came and helped.They had a beautiful table setup. You couldn’t beat it.”