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Written by Felix Rogers
Late this afternoon, I stopped at the Parkman Branch of the Detroit Library, on the Western edge of the HOPE Village, my SUV loaded with the Item of the Month. My contact, the head librarian, Ms. Annette Lotharp wasn’t in, but I was warmly welcomed by her assistant, Ms. Jolly. With plenty of help, I unloaded 6 boxes of children’s books and school supplies as well as a bag of 50 artisanal back packs for very young kids, crafted from used blue jeans. We were joined in the workroom by Lily and Felicia. Everyone was thrilled with the wide array of items, and the thoughtfulness of our parishioners. The summer reading program kicks off on Friday of next week. They served lunch to more than 700 kids last year, and they are hoping for the same crowd this year.
My next stop was the Cool Cities Park, where I have been asked to help with the gardens for the summer-long Farmers Market on Wednesdays and the grand Photography Festival set for September 15th. CCC is supporting this latter event with funds from our community partners program. It was early evening when I arrived. I won’t say the air was scented, but it was fresh and calm, that special time when we experience a Michigan evening at its best. Near the entrance, a vendor had a huge bag of very large Spanish onions and a few other items; several of the vendors were packing up, and most had already left. In the center of the lawn, 20 or so women of all ages were caught up in the beauty of the evening and they danced. It looked like an impromptu salsa class as they moved in and out of coordinated dance steps, laughing broadly when their synchronized moves fell apart. Around the periphery, neighbors chatted and watched the dancing; a few who recognized me waved.
Christ Church is contributing to a vibrant community in the HOPE Village. We are supporting scores of children who will apply themselves to a reading program to help them close the gap with kids who have more educational advantages. We are contributing to a new gathering place that is already a source of joy and growing community spirit.