By BRANDON VILLALOVOS
5:27 am | April 13, 2017
Pasadena police officers were celebrity waiters at California Pizza Kitchen during Wednesday’s lunch rush for the bi-annual “Tip-A-Cop” event, where the officers generously donated all their hard earned tips to the Pasadena Area Special Olympics.
The donations raised went to the local Special Olympic athletes to help fund various items from athletic gear, uniforms, medals, transportation, coaching and more — keeping everything available and accessible for the determined Olympians.
“All of that is cost free to our athletes so they don’t pay a dime for any of the costs associated with the Special Olympics, so they’re able to participate and it’s free of charge to the athletes, which is one of the founding principles of Special Olympics,” said Special Olympics Southern California Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley Regional Director Elouise Crawford.
This type of fundraising effort between the Pasadena Police Department and the Pasadena Special Olympics occurs twice a year, according to Lt. Tracey Ibarra.
“We help do the fundraising so we can help these athletes that give so much of themselves. They really give their heart, they give their passion, they give their time and it’s really important that we reach back into our community to support them in their efforts,” said Ibarra.
Pasadena offers year-round sports programs and competitions for athletes in Altadena, La Canada-Flintridge, Pasadena, San Marino, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena.
The programs provide people with intellectual disabilities with physical fitness and athletic competition in addition to social interaction and community involvement, according to the Special Olympics Southern California website.
“For our organization we want to raise awareness for Special Olympics. A little donation goes a long way to help us get funds for our teams because without their support, we would not have the money to pay for it,” said a Pasadena Special Olympian.
There are currently around 200 Pasadena area athletes currently involved in training and competing for golf, swimming and basketball ages eight and up.
The Pasadena Police Department is gearing up for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Southern California in early June, which is the largest public awareness vehicle and grassroots fundraiser with more than 3,500 officers in Southern California championing acceptance and inclusion.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is represented in all 50 U.S. states, Canadian provinces and 46 nations with 97,000 officers around the world, raising more than half a billion dollars since its inception in 1981.
The Southern California portion is the leading program in the world, raising $1.7 million in 2015 with participants representing 200 law enforcement agencies.
For more information and to donate to the Special Olympics, visit https://www.sosc.org/old/sslpage.aspx?pid=359