For the past nine years, the Florence Township Police Department has teamed up with the township’s school district as participating members from each group face-off in a charitable “Hoops for the Holidays” basketball game at Riverfront Middle School on Dec 4.
With a reported amount of $1400 raised from this year’s game along with donations of food and toys, the friendly matchup between township officers and members of the school district helped keep the holiday tradition a continuous success this year.
As members of the community came out to cheer on their local law enforcement and school faculty, they helped donate funds which will be used to purchase items and food baskets for families in need around the township.
“It’s the most important event that we do throughout the year because it really gives back to our families. It’s a fun night, but it gives back to our community,” said the school district’s superintendent, Donna Ambrosius. “Having the community come out and cheering each other on – it’s a fun event.”
Although the event itself remains a fun, family friendly evening for members of the community to come together, the joint charitable initiative for the township police has been important part of their efforts to reach out to those in need for the holiday season.
As he made every attempt to dribble past township teachers and drive in for layups, corporal and school research officer, Jason Shafer, said the game’s significance is representative of the dedication from both benches.
“It’s a fun event where we can bring our families to interact with the public,” Shafer said. “A lot of the officers donate their time. A lot of teachers donate their time, so it’s a great way to give back.
“We raise money to give back to the needy families during Christmas, so we do it by getting donations from different businesses in town, collect toys, food and money at the door. And all proceeds from the food we sell at concessions – all goes toward the families in need in the town.”
Playing alongside Shafer throughout the game was police chief, Brian Boldizar, as he set up his fellow officers for scoring opportunities along with multiple shots at the basket himself.
With the police department coming out on top over the school faculty members in a closely contested 41-40 victory, Boldizar said he was not only happy to see his department come out for a good cause, but was also happy to see his officers enjoy their time together on the court.
“It’s great that we get our officers out here, outside of work. They’re able to come here and play, and have a good time,” Boldizar said. “Of course, we want to win [the game] too, but it’s all about having some fun.”
Although the officers claimed the friendly victory, they had their hands full throughout the game with a competitive spirit from the school faculty members as they were led by their honorary coach, Joe Frappolli.
No stranger to academic athletics, Frappolli has dedicated more than 40 years of service to the school district. Although Frappolli is retired from the school district, he still coaches the high school football team and said this annual game is representative of the township’s identity.
“It’s a lot of fun to come out, for the administration to come out. It’s for a great cause,” Frappolli said. “It’s one of the special things about Florence Township – being a small community, always giving back to people.”