#minorsextrafficking | News Briefs 1.14.21 | Plant City Observer

Elks donate big bucks to Meals on Wheels

The Plant City Elks Lodge #1727 was able to lend a big helping hand to Plant City’s Meals on Wheels chapter on Jan. 6.

The Elks hosted Meals on Wheels representatives and presented them with a $7,000 donation that evening. Plant City’s Elks received a $3,500 grant from the National Elks and the State of Florida Elks matched it with an extra $3,500 of their own for the cause. John Guarino, Vice President of the Plant City Elks, said the lodge’s board and officers unanimously chose to donate the money to Meals on Wheels.

HCSO, HCPS release human trafficking PSA

Signs of human trafficking aren’t always obvious to the untrained eye, so the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Public Schools are trying to change that with a new PSA for middle and high school students.

HCSO and HCPS debuted the two-and-a-half minute video on Jan. 7. Sheriff Chad Chronister, Superintendent Addison Davis and a cast of student actors show and tell viewers exactly what they need to know to both avoid becoming a victim and identify signs and symptoms possible human trafficking victims — like a classmate — may display. 

With Super Bowl LV looming on Tampa’s horizon, HCSO is preparing for an uptick in human trafficking. HCSO said eight people were arrested for human trafficking in Hillsborough County in 2020.

“As with any large event, the demand for commercial sex increases drastically, opening the doors for sexual exploitation,” HCSO said in a press release. “In response, undercover operations are in full swing. Deputies are monitoring online chat rooms, massage parlors, hotels, and motels, known for illicit activity.”

The PSA will be sent to all public middle and high school students in the county and is also viewable on all of HCSO’s social media platforms. You can watch it online at youtube.com/watch?v=9ChMzs0RCJs.

“It is truly critical that we take these steps together to protect our children from human trafficking,”Superintendent Addison Davis said. “We have the responsibility as a school district and a community to protect our most vulnerable population.”

Dad-Daughter Date Night to return with new twist

Dads and daughters, grandfathers and granddaughters, uncles and nieces and father figures are encouraged to get their dancing shoes ready for the 2021 Dad-Daughter Date Night, hosted by the Plant City Parks and Recreation Department.

The 12th annual event, as usual, will take place at the Trinkle Center at Hillsborough Community College, 1206 N. Park Road. But in an effort to create as much fun as possible while still following COVID-19 safety protocols, this year’s event won’t be one night only — you can now choose to go on either Feb. 13 or 14 and you’ll get the same experience no matter which day you choose.

Doors open at 3:15 p.m. for photos and other pre-event activities, and the main event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. This year’s dance will be themed “A Night with the Princess and the Frog” in a nod to Disney’s 2009 animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” It will be two nights full of food, dancing, photos and more entertainment. Parties will be seated by family only.

The cost is $35 per couple (plus $10 per each additional child age 3 and up). Registration is required and there is a limit of 50 couples per day, so the Parks and Rec Department encourages families to act fast to beat the deadline of Feb. 5. You can request a registration form by emailing recinfo@plantcitygov.com, by calling 813-659-4256 or by visiting the Planteen Recreation Center, 301 Dort St. To get more information or learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Maggie Morona at mmorona@plantcitygov.com and 813-659-4256 or Kristen Self at kself@plantcitygov.com and 813-659-4200 ext. 4312.

Youth Fishing Derby scheduled for end of month

The first edition of the 24th semi-annual Youth Fishing Derby is coming back to the pond behind the Randy L. Larson Softball Four-Plex, 1500 S. Park Road (off of Gordon Food Service Drive), on Jan. 23, the Parks and Recreation Department announced last week.

Anglers age 5-15 can fish for free that morning in a catch-and-release competition running from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Bring your own pole, bait and buckets to fish. The pond is full of bass, catfish, mudfish, speckled perch, blue gill and more. Awards will be given out at 10:45 a.m.

You can register on-site the morning of the event from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. if you wish, but pre-registration is also available through Jan. 21. Fill out and return the form by fax, scan/email, postal mail to either Kristen Self or Deborah Haldane, Parks & Recreation administration office, 1904 South Park Road, Plant City FL 33563-8113. You may also hand-deliver registrations from from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the PCPRD office. Email recinfo@plantcitygov.com or call 813-659-4255 for more information.

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