Badge-wearers throw their "wait" around for Special Olympic athletes.
The custody staff from Pitchess Detention Center will be taking a break from the cellblock on Thursday, Oct. 23 and serving in a different way – bringing the “Tip A Cop” fundraiser for Special Olympics to the east side of town for the first time.
Traditionally, the events that feature law enforcement personnel – both the enforcers and their support staff, paid and otherwise – serving as waiters and charming generous tips from diners have only been featured in Valencia.
On Thursday, a team from the South Facility at Pitchess will be serving customers at Route 66 on Soledad Canyon Road and a team from North and East Facilities will be waiting tables at Cowboy Cantina just up the road at Soledad near Camp Plenty Road.
“People will know something’s up when they see the patrol car parked in front,” said Sgt. Gerri McCorkle, who is coordinating the event for the Pitchess staff.
McCorkle was in charge of the successful chili cookoff held this summer at Jack Bones Equestrian Center that raised more than $7,000 for Special Olympics. At that event, the cops were the cooks stirring the pots of fire that tempted guests. It’s a toss up which event is less labor-intensive.
“The teams are starting to get competitive,” she added. “They’ll have coloring books for the kids and all kinds of things to help raise money.”
Special Olympics spokeswoman Laura Mayo said that the Pitchess teams worked one night at Claim Jumper in Valencia last April, raising $4,700 in one night. On Thursday, a team from North County Correctional Facility (the largest jail on the Pitchess campus) will return to Claim Jumper and try to beat their co-workers across town.
The Special Olympic sports programs offers the opportunity for differently-abled individuals to participate in 12 different sports – aquatics, track and field, bocce, basketball, bowling, floor hockey, golf, gymnastics, softball, soccer, tennis and volleyball – at no cost. Volunteers step up as coaches and assistants and cheerleaders/supporters are always welcome. The estimated cost of putting each athlete through a year’s program is $500.
The “Tip A Cop” events will begin at 5 and conclude at 9 p.m. For information on Santa Clarita’s Special Olympic programs, call 253-2121.