Dalia Quintanilla, 4, of Berwyn Heights lost all her clothes and toys after a flash flood filled her basement bedroom with four feet of water.
On Friday, the Berwyn Heights Police Department helped Dalia bring a little color, particularly her favorite — pink — back to her life with a shopping spree and aid from fellow community members.
During the June 10 flood, water that had been rushing down the street came into Dalia’s room rapidly, rising to about four feet in just minutes, said her uncle, Max Ruiz, who also lives in the house.
After receiving their paychecks Friday, each of the police department’s eight staff members chipped in to help Dalia, collecting a total of $120, Police Chief Kenneth Antolick said.
With an additional $100 gift card donated by Target two officers and Camille Carter, the department’s administrative assistant, took Dalia shopping at the Beltway Plaza Mall’s Target in Greenbelt.
“What do you like?” Carter asked Dalia. “Do you like Hello Kitty?”
Dalia, who came to the store with her 17-year-old cousin, said “Yes” to the pink dress. “Yes” to the princess-themed socks. “Yes” to the pale purple T-shirt emblazoned with the image of a popular cartoon character. Later, she reached for a few more pink clothes and also picked out pants, shoes, a purse and a Barbie doll.
Antolick said the department mobilized to help Dalia’s family replace her things after they learned how much the girl and her family had lost in the flood.
“An event like this can be traumatizing to a young girl,” Antolick said. “At least this would give her a positive outlook, and to know there are people out there that are willing to help.”
Antolick said two teenagers in Dalia’s house also lost some belongings in the flood, but police decided to help Dalia because she is so young.
After learning that Quintanilla’s bedroom had flooded, damaging all of her things, Antolick said Carter started going around to businesses in the area to ask for contributions. He said quite a few of them chipped in totaling $170 while a nearby mattress store provided a $300 discount on a $400 bed, Antolick said.
Carter was able to buy Dalia a new bed for about $100, and she used what was left to buy a bedspread and sheets based on the Disney movie “Frozen.”
After the shopping trip, Ruiz said his niece was excited about all of her new things, which she had set out on a bed to show her family.
“She was so happy,” Ruiz said. “We are very happy with what [the police department] did.”
Detective Dan Unger, who was part of the Target shopping trip, said the department started looking for ways to help Dalia because they saw what impact the flood had on the community and wanted to do something.
“It would be nice if we could have helped everybody,” Unger said.
The town of Berwyn Heights is accepting donations for people whose homes were damaged in the June 10 flood. For more information, visit www.berwyn-heights.com.