EAST STROUDSBURG — Pocono bikers shared some love – and tasty homemade meals – with their local law enforcement officers in appreciation of all they do for their community on Friday.
The Latin American Motorcycle Association’s Poconos Chapter has been delivering trays of delicious dishes for police departments across Monroe County for the past three weeks in a show of solidarity and love with law enforcement in the region.
On June 12, the group stopped by Stroud Area Regional Police Department’s East Stroudsburg headquarters to offer the local men and women in blue a thank you for their service.
“Different families cook trays of food; we’ve been taking Spanish food, Italian food, everything you can think of,” LAMA secretary Alby Acevedo said. “This way, it’s giving them a ‘thank you,’ telling them we support them during these times. It’s a ‘thank you’ for all they’ve done throughout the whole COVID process, and especially now with all the protests going on. We want to show them that we’re here, we’re supporting them, we’re backing them up.”
LAMA members rolled up to the SARP office at noon bearing pasta, chicken curry, and plenty of other diverse dishes to thank the police. Chapter president Danny “Dannyboy” Alicea’s daughter, who happens to be a Girl Scout, even brought some cookies for desert.
“These guys do a tough job,” Alicea said. “It’s tough, with what’s going on nowadays. We appreciate their professionalism and their service to our community, and these guys deserve a little bit of support, so that’s why we’re here.”
The LAMA riders, who make up a diverse organization that stretches across the world and welcomes all members “regardless of nationality, race, color, religion, social class, gender, age, brand of motorcycle,” are well known for their community service and philanthropy. The registered non-profit group routinely supports local food banks, veteran programs and scholarships for high school graduates, among many other endeavors.
Acevedo said that their club came up with the idea for the food drop-offs when they noticed that other first responders, including health care workers and other medical professionals, appeared to be receiving more attention during the COVID-19 pandemic than local law enforcement officers.
“We have a lot of members that are retired police or are active police, firemen, EMTs, so we want to show support and say ‘We’re here for you, we support you, we’ve got your back,’” Acevedo said.
Over the course of the past few weeks, citizens have been clashing with cops at protests across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Floyd, a Black man, was murdered by white police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25 in Minneapolis when Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds during an arrest.
While reports of riots and fights with police have become all too common, local protests have largely gone off without any problems. SARP officers even joined in a peaceful march organized by Caseem Johnson on June 1, which saw approximately 2,000 people travel side by side with law enforcement as they ventured from Dansbury Park in East Stroudsburg to Courthouse Square in Stroudsburg to call attention to the death of Floyd and other racially-based injustices.
SARP Captain Paul Gasper said that he and his fellow officers were touched by the camaraderie shared at that event, and in the LAMA members showing their appreciation to law enforcement officers as well.
“It does feel amazing,” Gasper said. “Right now, the last several months, it’s been tough for everybody, not just the police, but for nurses, for the workers who weren’t essential, for the people who are home with kids. Our society has gone through the wringer, and to see support from one our groups who we support, and they support us, is truly amazing. We are here for our community, and we have been, and our community is here for us, and it speaks volumes.”
LAMA business manager Daniel “Chancho“ Feyjoo, who organized the food deliveries, said that communication in the community between residents and law enforcement officers is integral to maintaining the peace and building stronger working relationships.
“We want to show not only the community, but our own children, our youth members, that it’s important to give back,” Feyjoo said. “The communication, the dialogue, the holding up of your community so that you’re responsible for the community, that’s important.”
The Poconos Chapter plans to continue their meal drop-offs next week with the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department, spreading further camaraderie and solidarity in a time when it is most needed.
“This is LAMA, this is what LAMA is all about,” Alicea said. “It’s not only about what we share in common – the open road and the love of motorcycles – but it’s also service to your community. We do this worldwide; we’re in 25 different countries, we’re a large group. We’re motorcyclists and humanitarians.”