Community Unity Comes to Cook Park

LIMA – The inaugural Unity in the Community party drew families to Cook Park on Saturday afternoon.

Children danced and painted their faces in the park while their parents spoke with representatives from agencies such as the West Ohio Food Bank, Head Start and Rhodes State College.

Matrice Garner and Fifth Ward Councilman Thomas Jones organized Saturday’s party to bring resources directly to the Fifth Ward and “repair the gaps” in the community.

Parents learned about safe baby sleep practices from the Allen County Public Health Department, which gave away packets and games and showed passersby how to administer naloxone, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Lima Memorial Health System offered free blood pressure checks, CPR lessons and informal sessions with Dr. Susan Kaufman, the system’s medical director, one of a dozen booths Fifth Ward residents could visit Saturday.

Proceeds from the block party will go to a scholarship fund for young people from Lima pursuing careers in public safety.

Garner organized the block party to bring authorities and the community together, so they can know each other’s names.

“We hardly see that anymore,” Garner said.

The block party was expanded to include other resources people may need, such as food, college classes or wellness checks.

Garner hopes to repeat the event in other districts of the city each year.