Orwigsburg church hosts free block party

·2 min read

Aug. 29—ORWIGSBURG — Sunday marked the 20th year the Salem United Methodist Church has given back to the community by way of a free block party.

With every person and family struggling with inflation and high costs of living, Pastor Stacy Gonzalez said having something free is welcomed.

"Parents don't have to worry about giving something up so their families can have a good time," she said. "They can just come here. It's free and everyone is welcome."

The End-O-Summer Free Block Party ran from 3 to 7 p.m. outside of the church at South Liberty and Independence streets.

Activities for children included a bounce house, face painting, nail art, balloons, a clown and games.

For adults, the block party featured four musical performances — Forgiven from the Lititz area, In the Music Tent with Larry Adam on the keyboard, AJ (& Ellie) and The Salem Church Praise Band.

Free food and beverages included hot dogs, popcorn, water and soda.

Parishioner Steve Keck said in times like today with prices for everyday necessities rising, the church hopes to send a message that it is here to support the community any way possible as well as bring joy to the lives of others.

"This is a free day of joy," he said. "It brings people together because that's what we're here for."

Gonzalez said the neighborhood and entire community of Orwigsburg has always welcomed the church. For this, they are thankful.

"We're part of the neighborhood and are here for them," she said.

Although she is not a resident of Orwigsburg, Aimee Albright, of North Manheim Twp., brought her young son and daughter out for fun and games.

Albright said she admires the church and its parishioners for working hard to provide something for the community free of charge.

"I have a job and am lucky to be able to take my kids places, but there are people who can't especially now," Albright said.

She said giving parents a chance to spend quality time with their children without having to worry about how much it will cost them is a rarity these days.

"It's priceless," Albright said.

Parishioner Brenda Binns said the idea for the free community event came from a former pastor, Tim Patterson, in 2001 as a way of bringing joy and hope to the community.

She said the event is funded entirely through various fundraisers and donations, and that no money is taken from the church budget.

"This is about a lot of people coming together to do something nice for others," Binns said.

She said the event has been held every year, with the exception of 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Binns also said she hopes the tradition continues for years to come.

The Orwigsburg Library was represented, along with Girl Scout Troop 32727.