What started as a family just trying to get to know the neighbors has grown into a full-fledged community celebration and resource fair to connect community members with each other and the services they might need.
Eric Allen, founder of the nonprofit Souled Out Ministries and an opportunity coordinator at Appleton East High School, was still new in town when he and his wife Angela Beckum-Allen decided to do something to get better acquainted with the community and the parents of their children’s friends..
“We would see the kids (in the neighborhood) and never get a chance to meet the families,” he says. “Me and my wife thought what a joy it would be to get the street blocked off and have a block party so we went to each door individually, we kind of did everything out of pocket ourselves. Kwik Trip helped us out, the fire truck came, it was awesome.”
Even after they moved out of the neighborhood the next year, they kept the party going, last summer at Hart Park, where the third annual Unity in the Community Block Party will take place on Saturday, July 27.
There will be bounce houses, a DJ, plenty of food and door prizes donated by businesses like the Green Bay Packers and Culvers, but this year it’s about more than just a nice afternoon with friends.
“Because I work a Appleton East High School, I work with a lot of families who aren’t aware of the resources and things that’s available to them in the community,” Allen says. “We thought maybe this year we’ll do something different and have a resource fair and invite people to come out, set up a booth.”
So far Allen said he has commitments from several organizations who will be on hand to connect people with resources, including WE Energies, who will be on hand with energy assistance information, and the child abuse prevention organization B.A.B.E.S. Inc.
The summer festival Mile of Music is the major sponsor of the block party, Allen said.
Any organization who wishes to set up a booth at the Unity in the Community Block Party should email Eric Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.