Block party aids students


NAUGATUCK — Local churches and a youth organization are hosting a block party to help students start the new school year off on the right foot.

The third Community Block Party is Aug. 23 from 3 to 6 p.m. on the Naugatuck Green.

The party, which is hosted by Naugatuck Valley Community Church, Naugatuck United Methodist Church and Naugatuck Youth Services, is free to the community. The party will feature carnival games, a bounce house, an obstacle course, a table for crafts, snow cones and popcorn.

The food and games will be free for attendees, Ellie Fusco of the Naugatuck Valley Community Church said.

Aside from coming together for a good time, the block party is held to collect donations of school clothes to ensure children whose families might not be able to afford new clothing will have proper clothing when they head back to school.

Naugatuck Valley Community Church Pastor Tim Leggett said people can donate either money or new clothing items. Clothing, including as shorts, pants, socks and T-shirts, will be collected, he said.

In the past, the party was hosted by just Naugatuck Valley Community Church. This is the first year the Naugatuck United Methodist Church and Naugatuck Youth Services are co-hosting the party.
Naugatuck United Methodist Church Pastor Peola Hicks said she decided to participate to help make the church more accessible to the community.

“We decided to do it because we have a vision to make Christ relevant to our community,” Hicks said. “I don’t think people always know our church is in the community. If you are going to be in the community you need to serve the community. We need to not only have a worship service inside but to also be in the community so people can see us.”

Leggett, who also serves on the Truancy Advocacy Panel of Naugatuck Youth Services, reached out to the Naugatuck Youth Services Director Kristen Mabrouk to be a part of the event.
Mabrouk thought it was a good idea because it would give youth services a chance to reach more people.

“We want to work with some of the churches in town because they all have their own communities. We should all be tapping into each other’s communities,” Mabrouk said.

If people want to donate but are unable to make it to the party, they can bring donations to Naugatuck Valley Community Church, 159 Church St., or to Naugatuck Youth Services, 13 Scott St.
Leggett said the church holds the party to make a positive impact on the community.

“I heard a quote that said, ‘If our church ceases to exist would our community know it.’ That stuck with me. In our name is the word community. We exist for a spiritual reason but also for the betterment of the community, and we realize children and families are a vital part of the community,” Leggett said.