Fatherhood and Fun the Focus of June Block Party
Stowe Mission kicked off summer on June 28 with a block party in its parking lot. The party was an opportunity for community members to come together in fellowship and relaxation, sharing a meal and themselves outside of the daily stresses of life.
A long-time tradition, the summer block parties have become a huge boost to the community along Parsons Avenue. Residents of the area have come to love meeting outside of Stowe Mission to strengthen the bond created by sharing a neighborhood. All evening, community members sat together in the shade, sharing stories over sandwiches, reminiscing with old friends and creating new relationships with neighbors, Stowe Mission staff, and volunteers. Meanwhile, children and teens were playing together with dozens of brand new toys.
The toys, given to each child in attendance, were graciously donated by The Brighter Days Foundation, created by Jason and Ellie Day to support organizations working to provide a brighter day and a brighter future to those in need. The June block party was dedicated to fathers in honor of the recent Father’s Day holiday, with each toy providing a chance for a dad to spend time with his children.
Dublin Baptist Church, a long-standing partner of Stowe Mission, hosts the block party, donating and serving the meal. Church members set up, coordinate games for the children, and get to know the crowd they serve. Some of the last people to leave were from the church, spending as much time as they could with the neighborhood families.
A highlight of this month’s block party was the raffle of two gas grills to local fathers. Provided by The Brighter Days Foundation, the grill gift packages included BBQ tools and gift cards to Kroger in anticipation of perfect grilling weather on the horizon. Both winners of the grills were ecstatic with their prizes.
One winner, Ivan, has lived on the South Side of Columbus for 20 years. Before the raffle winner was announced, he mentioned that he had never won anything in his life. When his name was called first, he hesitated in disbelief before throwing his arms into the air amidst hugs from his friends. After winning, he said that the grill meant “everything” to him and that he planned to break it in the very next day with his brother.
The second winner, Andre, nearly missed out on entering the raffle. “I feel great, I’m so lucky, I was the last one to enter. They said I had one minute left,” he said after his win. He and some members of his family gathered around the grill for a picture, a short moment of calm before the children were off again playing with their new kites and Frisbees. Asked when he’d get around to using it, Andre replied “as soon as I get it to the house.”
Upcoming block parties are scheduled for July 25, August 16, August 30, and September 27, and as one man remarked to a volunteer, “these block parties are the best thing to happen to this neighborhood in a very long time.” For information about volunteering at or sponsoring an upcoming block party, contact Austin Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click photo see more from the Block Party!