Rosewood celebrates annual ‘National Night Out’

See how this organization brings together diverse folks in outer East Portland to celebrate, and to strengthen their community …

Hundreds of families come to the Rosewood Initiative parking lot, in the Centennial neighborhood, for another “National Night Out” party.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The Village Square Shopping Center parking lot, at the intersection of SE 162md Avenue and Stark Street, was filled with canopies, the smell of cooking food, and hundreds of people; as the Rosewood National Night Out celebration got underway on Friday evening, August 2.

Before the free barbecue dinner was served, families browsed the more than 50 nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies’ booths that had been set up to provide resources and information.

A “Community Resource Fair” helps families learn about, and connect with, a wide variety of services available in the area.

“We started ‘Rosewood Night Out’ six years ago, and did it during the National Night Out week to make a statement about the community coming together to promote positive activity, and be together in our own neighborhood,” said Rosewood Initiative Executive Director Jenny Glass.

“It’s more than just about being against crime; we’re more about promoting positive behaviors – coming together, and feeling safe,” Glass told East Portland News.

Food organizer Shelli Thompson, and Rosewood Initiative Executive Director Jenny Glass, pause for a photo while assembling dinner supplies for the barbecue.

Credits God’s blessings for barbecue
Providing a free dinner for the hundreds of people who attend the event has been a major draw. But this year, the barbecue was in jeopardy.

“In the past there are several area churches were involved with the project; but things happened, and those who grilled the hamburgers and hot dogs dropped out,” explained dinner organizer Shelli Thompson, from Parklane Christian Reform Church.

Parklane Christian Reform Church volunteer grill chef Larry Little cooks some of the 400 hot dogs served at the party.

“Then, our food supplier didn’t have the potato salad they normally donate,” Thompson said. “We put out the word, and the lovely people in our congregation purchased all the potato salad for the party, and Birch Community Services gave us all the potato chips – they are a wonderful community service that supports so many people here!”

Volunteers Lesley Snyder and Dennis Troxel serve guest Jessica Schmidt supper for herself and her family.

For tables, cooking, and serving, they turned to an organization called “Because People Matter PDX” – their church works with that nonprofit’s “B-Town Kids locally at nearby Parklane Park on Saturdays – to bring their grills and gear, including snow cone machines, as Thompson gratefully acknowledged.

“Actually, God is the reason that this got taken care of, in my opinion; I didn’t do any worrying, I just put it in His hands and everything came together,” professed Thompson.

Providing free blood pressure screening was baccalaureate RN Sierra Steward of the OHSU School of Nursing, who says she’s on her way to earning a PhD in her profession.

Asked why members of her church volunteered with such vigor to help hold a completely secular event, Thompson explained, “We recognize that, while we try to be good people, we are all sinners by our nature.

“But we’re trying to trying to ‘reform ourselves’ to be more like Jesus Christ – one who fed people’s hearts, souls, and bodies,” Thompson said. “There are many in our neighborhood who feel that ‘nobody cares about them’; we’re here to let them know we care; it’s the reason why we do all we do.”

A free snow cone for dessert?  David Douglas High sophomore volunteer Colton Veltkamp applies tasty toppings.

After the crowd consumed 800 hamburgers, 400 hot dogs, 120 pounds of potato salad, and an entire pallet of chips, the party ended with a Portland Parks & Recreation “Movies in the Park” presentation of Black Panther.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

 

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