Holiday Fun Day event seeks to provide support for Philly children, families affected by gun violence
The event was hosted by the Office of City Councilman At-Large David Oh, in partnership with the National Homicide Justice Alliance, on Saturday, Dec. 17.
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Each year since 2017, the city of Philadelphia has seen more than 300 homicide victims, including a mind-blowing 562 to end last year.
With violence as prevalent as ever, more and more children and families are being affected by this.
Understanding this reality, Councilman At-Large Oh has set out to show that these children and families are not forgotten, with the annual “Holiday Fun Day.”
“So many times after the tragedy occurs, they’re left out,” said Councilman Oh during an interview with AL DÍA.
“Holiday Fun Day” is a family event hosted by Councilman At-Large Oh, in partnership with the National Homicide Justice Alliance. It features food, games and performances, and the event is particularly focused on children ages 5-12 who have been impacted by deadly violence.
“There’s a lot of conversation about someone who’s incarcerated over the holidays, there’s a lot of talk about the people committing crimes, there’s a lot of talk about a lot of things, but there’s a not a lot of talk about the children who are impacted by this,” added Oh.
A key part of the event is for each of the children who attend the event to leave with at least one free toy.
The toys are donated by St. Nicholas Church, Toys for Tots, Fine & Staud, and Five Below.
The purpose of this is to give these children who have likely been traumatized by the deadly violence a chance to have fun, enjoy themselves, and not have to worry about the challenges that have been plaguing the city.
“For the parents and the caregivers… it’s a chance to destress, relax, have a chance to talk to each other, unwind and not have to worry about their kids getting lost, or… [something happening to them].” said Oh.
The Councilman told AL DÍA that the idea for the event came after he met with victims of deadly crime in the city, most of which are mothers.
One victim, in particular, was a 23-year-old mother of two who was shot in the face by a stray bullet, causing her to lose an eye.
In the midst of her recovery, one month after her shooting, the father of her children was murdered.
Now left as a young, single mother with a lack of resources to pay for her medical bills and a lack of support to care for her two young children,
This is just one of a handful of mothers in the city who have become targets of crime. Councilman Oh took on the responsibility of helping advocate for support and appropriating funds to help relocate these women to safer environments.
These are not isolated incidents.
“There’s a point where we have to let people know,” said Oh.
The event provides a safe space for the many victims of crime across the city, to see that they are not forgotten.
As it comes to the solutions for addressing violent crime, Oh notes that it starts early, which is why the focus is on the children. It’s a multifaceted approach.
“If we had good education in these communities, we would not have this problem. If we had good jobs, we would not have this program. If we had libraries that were open, we wouldn’t have this program,” he said.
The Holiday Fun Day event was held at the Temple University Student Pavilion in North Philadelphia on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.