Back-to-school cool: Calvary Community block party reaches out to families

The way Bishop Charles Sims of Columbus’ Calvary Community Church sees it, practical outreach is a key element of basic Christian love. That explains why the ministry, in cooperation with others, has organized its third annual Community Block Party from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the church lawn at 1031 Chestnut St.

“We feel like we play an integral role in the welfare of the community,” Sims said. “We’re concerned about families and kids that need help. And so we are here in part to help serve them. Really, this is ultimately about holistic ministry — mind, body and soul. We’re concerned about the entire person.”

The church has joined forces for the free, open-to-all event with the local African American Pastors Alliance, Peter Soler’s Uppercuts barber shop, and Elizabethtown’s Faith Hope and Love Church of God In Christ.

As he has done since the first such event, Soler will offer free haircuts to those in kindergarten through 12th grade while slots are available.

“It’s always good to be able to give back,” Soler said when the outreach began in 2018 (last summer’s event was cancelled). “God has been good to me and blessed me, so I am just returning the favor.”

The gathering attracted about 500 people in 2019, according to Sims.

“I think that clearly said that people are appreciating what we’re trying to do,” Sims said.

The block party will include games, free backpacks for many youngsters in time for the back-to-school season, and free picnic-style food. Organizers gave away more than 200 backpacks in 2019. This year, there will be 264 backpacks to be given.

Vendors scheduled to attend and distribute information about various programs include the Alliance For Substance Abuse Progress, local law enforcement, DARE and others.

“We definitely want to see our kids have positive, early interactions with law enforcement,” Sims said.

Also, there will be free COVID-19 vaccinations for those ages 12 and older.

“We just want this to be a good, positive school send-off for our kids — sort of like a festival,” Sims said.

Calvary Community’s Deborah Booker, among the organizers, mentioned that bounce houses have been popular parts of the past such gatherings.

“But we are going to wait to do them again until we know for sure that we are out of this COVID thing,” Booker said of the pandemic. “We simply want to use the right amount of wisdom and caution.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”About the event” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Third annual Community Block Party, organized by Calvary Community Church and others.

When: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. July 31.

Where: Calvary Community Church, 1031 Chestnut St. in Columbus.

Information: 812-372-3077.