HARTFORD - The Salvation Army’s 15th Annual South Marshall Street Block Party was held on June 26th with approximately 500 neighbors in attendance. The community gathered together to spend time with one another, meet new people and enjoy the festivities of the day. And what a beautiful day it was! Sunshine and blue skies were abundant – a drastic difference from last year’s rain and hail storm.
“This is an event that we started many years ago to help build the relationship between the community and The Salvation Army’s Marshall House family shelter,” said Brenda Downing, Divisional Social Services Director with The Salvation Army. The Marshall House family shelter has been in the neighborhood for several years, providing comprehensive services including emergency housing, nutritious meals, case management and assistance with job searches. “It gets the community involved and helps us get to know our neighbors,” said Sarah DiMaio, Program Director at The Salvation Army’s Marshall House. “We’re able to talk with people and let them know all the services we have to offer.”
Games and activities could be found throughout the street, with plenty of food and drinks for everyone. There were tables with books and plants from the Immanuel Congregational Church, as well as a robot from The Dragons 1991. Informational resources were provided by The Salvation Army’s The Right Place community school, The City of Hartford, Hartford Fire Department & Police Department, World Affairs Council, YWCA, Epilepsy Foundation and others. A disc jockey spun some hits followed by an amazing drum performance from a local youth group.
It’s a big event for the community where we give them food, fun, a sense of community and a sense of pride in their neighborhood,” said Lauren Fair, Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army of Greater Hartford Area Services. “We could not do this without our community partners including Aetna who provided the food, Knox who delivered it for us, Wheeler Clinic who sponsored the event which provided backpacks and supplies for the children, Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Immanuel Congregational Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, among others. The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Canteen provided hotdogs and drinks to passersby. “It shows the community that we are here for them no matter where they are in their lives, in good times and bad,” said Sal Cretella, Director of Emergency Disaster Services at The Salvation Army.