Make a shirt, make a difference.
That's been the guiding principle for Luis Delossantos, a detective in Passaic County, since last September when he launched his apparel line, "LeoCivvies."
Although the U.S. Navy veteran says helping others is one of his inherent traits, the launch of the company allows for greater impact.
LeoCivvies -- "law enforcement + civilian" -- not only offers customized T-shirts at competitive rates, and donates proceeds to national and local organizations, but bridges the gap between police officers and civilians with watches, T-shirts, hats and bracelets, Delossantos explains.
"The mission has always been to highlight what we do as police officers on a day-to-day basis," the narcotics detective explained. "We always want to give back to the community to highlight that with donations to charitable organizations."
Since its launch last year, LeoCivvies has helped raise thousands of dollars for several organizations including the New Jersey Special Olympics, Tip-A-Cop, the Snow Bowl, Torch Run, Red Cross, Tomorrow's Children Fund, Boys and Girls Clubs of Paterson and Passaic, The Police Unity Tour -- in which he participated -- and more.
LeoCivvies goal is to continue to strive in reinforcing through our business line, social media, time & efforts the importance of humanizing the perception of our communities nationwide about our law enforcement officers and first responders in general.
Delossantos and his family were first made aware of the severe need for community outreach in 2012, just after his tour in the military.
The detective was unloading groceries in his Passaic driveway one October day when he was approached by a middle school girl selling her own school uniforms. The student explained she and her mom -- who was single and struggling -- told her to try to sell the clothes for grocery money.
"Honestly, it was a culture shock," said Delossantos, a Dominican Republic native.
"I never thought that those kind of things happened here in the U.S. As much as I was exposed to as a police officer, this wasn’t anything that like.
"It struck a chord."
It struck a chord.
Delossantos and his wife, Mariely, immediately took the girl to the grocery store in what became the first of many trips. They paid for the entire bill.
The girl eventually lost her mom to her ailments and moved to Florida. But the Delossantos' knew there was still more work to be done.
In addition to bringing the first Tip-A-Cop program in Passaic County (which raises money for the Special Olympics) the officer jumped at every opportunity he could to help locally.
The launch of LeoCivvies last September brought Delossantos' mission to the next level.
"As police officers and business owners we are trying to help out regardless of the narrative," Delossantos said. "We're part of the communities -- moms, dads, sons, daughters -- we're just like you and we are all in it together."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.