PHILADELPHIA - A North Philly man is cleaning up city parks and playgrounds of drug needles to help keep kids in the neighborhood safe.
"You see these caps and we have syringes," said Raphael Feliciano about drug paraphernalia hiding in plain sight.
"Syringes with needle points and residual blood. This would change a child's life," he said. It’s a danger not just in back alleys but at parks and playgrounds around our city where children play.
"You can imagine you want to go play handball, a handball bounces over here in this section, you run fast not thinking about it and get stabbed," he said.
Feliciano is trying to change that. He’s known to the community and on Instagram as “Mr. Clean and Safe Parks” because of the work he does nearly every day.
I went along with him this evening. He picked up nearly 80 needles on and around McGuire playground in the Kensington part of North Philly.
"Here goes one," he said picking up another needle. That one was at the base of steps leading to a sliding board and right near a child's lost hair barrette. A similar situation years ago put him on this mission.
"I seen the child sliding down a slide, two years old and low and behold I see a syringe right at the bottom. So I decided to pick up that syringe and not just clean the park. I made sure I picked up every syringe in every park," he said.
"Seven years ago from going to one park and picking up 50 syringes to an explosive of 1,000 syringes in one park a day," said Feliciano. A group of teens showed up to play ball this evening. He had them wait for the all-clear.
"We got uncounted numbers of children out here getting stuck by syringes. I pick up syringes that I have in my videos with actual fluid blood in them. Imagine you get stuck with an already syringe filled. That's scary," said Feliciano who also gives out brand new clothing and shoes to addicts and homeless along the way.
FOX 29's Shawnette WIlson saw a woman in tears when he gave her gifts this evening. He gets those things and safety equipment to help him clean up with his own money. He’s asking for help from anyone who would like to donate for supplies to keep him safe while keeping kids safe.
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