A Boyle Heights family got some help from LAPD after thieves stole all of their new clothes, purchased with family savings and gift cards they'd saved from the children's birthdays.
Nancy Colín said thieves broke into her family’s car as it was parked in their Boyle Heights neighborhood. Among the items stolen were all of the clothes the family owns.
“I told the officer my kids are with one pair of pants, one underwear, they have no jackets, no sweaters," Colín said.
They had nothing left because the family had cleaned out their closets of items that no longer fit and bought new clothes, using family savings and gift cards received from the kids’ birthdays.
All of the new clothes were in their car because they’d just returned from the laundromat.
"I started crying. There was nothing we could do. We went around the block knocking on doors, no one saw anything," she said.
When the senior lead officer at LAPD's Hollenbeck station heard about the family, he contacted Badge of Heart. The nonprofit, run by police officers who volunteer their time, helps those in need. Training officer Ken Lew is the founder.
"Going into thousands of homes as a young officer, seeing the living conditions and lack of food and clothes, it resonated with me because that’s how I was growing up with my family," Lew said.
Badge of Heart has helped more than 4,000 families, children and seniors with much needed essentials, including the Colín family, who received gift cards for clothing and food.
"Us Latinos always think we are something not important to the cops so this time they proved us wrong. They do help," she said.
Officer Lew said Badge of Heart has received three times as many requests for help since the pandemic started, so they’re always in need of donations.
"We do have thousands of officers that help people daily or we wouldn’t be doing this for a living," Lew said.