BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Residents in the Daytona Beach community enjoyed free food and entertainment on Sept. 9 at a block party on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard put together by the Central Florida Community Development Corporation.
The party, held from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., was held in several stages – an early afternoon event with food and live music for senior citizens, a happy hour and karaoke, and a final event with food, dancing and live music.
“This event is for the community. We want to show our appreciation for their support of our organization. We do a lot in the community and we want to get people hyped and involved so that we can continue to develop the Midtown community,” said Gerald Chester, CEO of the Central Florida Community Development Corporation (CFCDC).
The CFCDC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose goal is to provide affordable housing, stimulate investment in stagnant or declining communities and improve the quality of life for low to moderate income persons. The organization was founded in 1982.
Chester expressed the importance of bringing the community together and community involvement from all citizens.
“If you are going to make a change in the community, you cannot do it without people.
Everyone needs to be a part of our redevelopment effort and understand what’s going on and who the players are. We are one of many players,” he explained.
“We have already done some things and plan on doing more. This block party also helps people to know who we are. This is also a time to socialize. You get things done by building relationships with those in your community.
The party kicked off with seniors from 2 to 4 p.m. Senior citizens’ participation was encouraged and was a key ingredient of the event.
“We want to take care of our seniors and their family members who they brought along with them today. That is why their meal was free,” stated Chester.
The seniors who attended said they had an enjoyable experience but just felt that more should have attended.
“This is very nice. The food is good. I think the event was well attended. This is also a good way for people to socialize and get to know others in their community as well as mingle and fellowship. I really enjoyed it. I think that there should have been other senior citizens,” commented Bernice Atkins.
“I think that it was a good experience and a good idea, especially with regards to the seniors citizens just giving them something different to do. Even the night portion was good. We didn’t have any rowdiness. It was a fun, clean and calm event,” commented Thalia Rosado.
There was a period of heavy rain during the event, but it didn’t seem to kill the atmosphere.
“There were some tents up at the event so people really didn’t get wet. I don’t think that the rain had any affect on the event at all,” Rosado added.
The CFCDC may do another block party or a similar event for the community in the near future.
“We definitely will do this again. It will be more structured. This is our dry run, “Chester added.
“We want to get people together to network and have fun.”