“What would you like today?” volunteer Cindy Flannery greeted each person in line, handing out free hot dogs and burgers.
Flannery, the district director for Stop & Shop supermarket, spent her Saturday afternoon serving food outdoors, at the 24th annual Dwight Family Festival. The festival drew more than 200 participants from the neighborhood to the grounds of Amistad Academy and featured street food from ice-cream to cotton candy.
“The event brings community together and opens up opportunities for communication and resources,” said Dwight Alder Frank Douglass.
The New Haven Moms Partnership was one of the organizations present. With a branch at Stop & Shop in the Dwight neighborhood, Moms Partnership offers mothers workshops on stress management and provides information about family resources. At the event, it distributed survey sheets among mothers.
The survey was intended to find out what struggles the mothers faced as moms in New Haven, how they found out about resources in the community, and whether they are utilizing existing resources, according to site coordinator Natasha Rivera-LaButhie.
Other organizations include New Haven Promise, Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, and the New Haven Health Department.
Midway through the event, a group of young men from James Hillhouse High School staged a lively stepping show.
The group was called YMEGAS, which stands for Young Men Engaging in Growth and Academic Success. One of its songs incorporated the slogan “Pick it Up New Haven” from Mayor Toni Harp’s beautification program.
Olafemi Hunter, a mentor at James Hillhouse High School, said his team had performed the song in City Hall (at this event). The Department of Public Works approached the group and asked if it would be willing to prepare a performance and promote Harp’s initiative in an artistic way.
Hunter said the performance adds to the community service the group undertakes. Only one year into existence, the group has engaged in 23 types of community service.
“We are getting ready for next year,” Douglass said of the festival with a wide smile.