By CJ Guion/Staff Writer

This past Saturday, Tapestry Church and the Neighbor to Neighbor outreach program hosted a fall festival meant to serve and give back to the community in Raleigh. This annual event is a fun filled day with food, games, and unity. The Neighbor to Neighbor outreach program was formed in 1994, after a small group of members began discussing with mothers living in public housing ways that the community could give back to Southeast Raleigh. Out of these conversations it was realized that the community needed to unite and restore hope in a hurting community so that it would be able to fulfill its highest potential. Sixteen years later the program continues to serve the South East Raleigh community and has expanded its network to include the growing Hispanic population in the Greater Raleigh Area. The program is committed to goals of building relationships, high quality resources, providing a place of hope and opportunity, as well as being an organization of integrity.

The NCSU chapters of Collegiate 100 Black Men of America, Inc. and Alpha Nu Omega had the opportunity to be a part of this annual event by volunteering their time to give back to the community. The Collegiate 100 is an organization comprised of African American male college students who focus on the educational, social, physical, and emotional needs of African American males in surrounding communities who have little to no male role models. Alpha Nu Omega is Greek letter organization which was formed in 1988 that places a high emphasis on Christian ministry and spirituality, as well as academic excellence.  Volunteers helped out with facilitating game booths, serving food, and setting up the event. Several of the activities that took place at the event were 3 on 3 basketball games, Wheel of Torture, Parade of costumes, Human juggling, as well as free haircuts/hair styling. After all the fun, spectators were able to cool down with a savory lunch. There was also a nutritional food booth, where visitors were able to partake in a sampling of roasted and mashed sweet potatoes, choosing which one they liked better. The mashed sweet potatoes contained orange juice, cinnamon, and butter. The stand also gave participants the chance to take home fresh vegetables from a garden which is located on the grounds of the Neighbor to Neighbor community center. Since the event was so close to Halloween, many of the kids got to enjoy candy prizes for the games in which they participated in. The community seemed to be pleased with the event, and most of all the kids seemed to enjoy themselves.

All in all, the event was a success and it is always good when a community is able to come together in a peaceful environment. Many times we tend to focus on the negatives of the African American/Hispanic communities, but it’s good when the spotlight can be cast on positive activities which are beneficial to the people of our surrounding neighborhoods.