Hartford, CT-- The up-beat music, colorful bounce house, and numerous pop-up tents created a festival atmosphere in Hartford’s north end on Saturday, August 17th. Cars lined Vine Street in Hartford as the parking lot at Liberty Christian Center International, UCC (LCCI) was filled with families and community members enjoying Liberty’s 4th annual Community Fair.
Started in Summer 2016 by Youth Directors Isaac Monts, Jodyann Gaynor, Ashlee Satchell, and Shauna Stennett, this event was created with a vision to unleash love on the community.
“We wanted to give back to this community with a focus on health and wellness. Although this is a church wide event, our youth and young adult ministry takes the lead on planning and preparation. With our mission to unleash leaders to make an impact in our world through love, charity, community, and faith, this work is right in line with our goals, and the work we want to see our youth engaged in,” Gaynor said.
Local health groups, such as Community Health Services, St. Francis Hospital, New Britain YWCA, and Sexual Crisis Hotline were on hand to provide information and resources to community members. There were also two vans offering free mammograms and blood-pressure screening to community members as well. To underscore the health focus, there was lots of encouragement to take action and get exercise including a Zumba session led by an instructor from the Hartford YMCA.
Ice-cold water and free hamburgers and hot dogs were given out to the first 200 guests. Free Clothing items including shoes, and hygiene kits were also given to the community. The Horace Bushnell Children’s Food Pantry at LCCI gave out over 200 bags of nonperishable food items and Next Level Cutz, a neighborhood barbershop, offered complimentary haircuts to community members as well.
We asked LCCI youth Kairsten Johnson what her role was and what is was like to be a part of the event. She said, "I had a great time as a volunteer, being a part of the planning and organizing team, and managing the media for the community fair. It is always a humbling experience to give back to the community and team up with other organizations to donate and have a totally free and safe function especially being in the heart of Hartford."
"The community needs love!," said youth leader Isaac Monts. "The community needs to know that there are people that are thinking about them and that care about them. Whether it be providing food or clothing, providing a safe space for community members to enjoy the neighborhood on a nice Summer day, or a simple invitation to Sunday morning worship, the community needs love and that’s what this event is all about.”
Over 100 free backpacks with school supplies in them were given away. Church Deacon and emcee for the day, Larry Satchell, invited folks to stop by the prayer tent if there were in need of prayer. He also extended a welcome to Sunday Morning worship saying, “Come as you are. We are here every Sunday at 10 AM.”