Making a Difference in Paterson
For 23 years, Paterson Police Athletic League (PAL) has been taking children off of the streets of Paterson and teaching them, no, guiding them, to a better life. Agostino Feola has been at the helm since the very beginning. Agostino, or Augie as he is called, is a teacher and a mentor to not only the students but the volunteers who were once students themselves.
Boys and girls, ages 9 to 17, complete a rigorous 10-week training program where they learn all about law enforcement. The program’s model is that of a military academy where students are given the opportunity to meet representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. They work with local law officials including police, swat, firemen, county sheriffs and detectives. Their behavior and performance is supervised both at school and at home. They are expected to act with respect in all aspects of their lives.
Table to Table has been delivering food to PAL each week for the past several years. We deliver fruit and vegetables, some prepared food, meat and desserts. Parent volunteers use the food to prepare weekly dinners and weekend lunches in the small kitchen on premise. When we visited one Saturday, the kids were enjoying a lunch of empanadas, handmade with beef we had delivered that week.
The Paterson Police Athletic League is a model to be duplicated; helping children find their way off the streets to succeed not only in school but beyond. We are impressed and gratified by their achievements and are thrilled to be able to partner with them – making a difference in young lives by way of consistent, nutritious meals.