The 17th annual Party in the Park was held last weekend in Coiner Park where over 400 backpacks filled with school supplies were given out. Hosted by the Cottage Grove Faith Center, with help from the 6th and Gibbs Church and the Living Faith Assembly, the event gave out 15,000 hot dogs, 1,000 snow cones and featured various activities. Nail and face painting, a dunk tank, a bounce house, music and giant bubbles were also available to participants.
“This is an outreach for the churches, we just want to share love and grace with people. We just wanna make this as fun as possible and let people know that they are loved in this town and supported,” the event’s coordinator, Shane May, said. “I want them to feel loved and cherished and know that they are worthy and a part of this community and support them.”
The Faith Center collected over $2,500 from it’s members for the event and obtain donations from local business and community members.
“We love to see the smiles on kids when they walk away with that new backpack,” Shelia Powell, the church administrator at Cottage Faith Center, said.
Over 50 people donned red shirts to volunteer at the event including Victor Pearson who manned the sound system for the event.
“It’s a lot of fun, even for the people who are working,” he said.
People like Alicia Sanders were grateful for the free school packs and welcomed the activities for her children. Her kids were especially excited for the bounce house.
“It’s really just something nice to do with the kids. School supplies are expensive, especially when you're buying them for more than one kid,” Sanders said.
A crowd was present well before the backpacks were handed out. Bonnie Edmunds made sure to get here early in order to grab a spot at the front of the line. She even brought her own chair. Her grandson will be entering the first grade this fall and she said he was excited for the new school supplies.
“Lived in California 20 years, never once in any place did they doing something like this for the children. So Cottage Grove is awesome, it is awesome,” Edmunds said.
The event's goal was to bring members of the community together and to provide a day of fun for the families of Cottage Grove, May said.
“It’s great serving people, it’s great having people served, we love Cottage Grove. We love this town,” May said.
The city of Cottage Grove also pitched in to make the event a success with several city trucks available for children to explore. The city took the opportunity to speak with residents about the condition of Cottage Grove roads and other transportation-related projects on schedule for the coming months.