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Hope For Our City returns for second year
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A small group of kids plays together after receiving backpacks filled with school supplies at the Hope for Our City event at Veterans Park Saturday. - photo by Daniel Kiewel

A spirit of joy and community was palpable at Veterans Park Saturday as an army of volunteers descended on the park to provide residents a light of hope.

An estimated 250 volunteers overcame morning rain showers to set up for the massive event, which kicked of at 10 a.m. and included countless games, community services and giveaways. This was the second year for the event, which was several months in the planning.

Jon Hembree, pastor of Community Christian Church, oversaw coordination for the years event. Even under cloudy skies early in the event, turnout was strong, he said. “it’s already pretty good crowd here, so I’m excited. We were hoping that the rain was going to stop and it seems to have done that.”

More than 17 area churches were represented at the event, as well as several community businesses and organizations. International relief organization Convoy of Hope was also on hand again this year giving away bags of groceries to members of the community.

The Great Bend Police Department offered fingerprinting services for parents and children to keep on file in case of emergencies. The Barton County Health Department was available, providing information about the services it offers the community. Other ministry organizations such as Live Like Jesus Today Ministries, the Moment of Grace Pregnancy Care Clinic, Central Kansas Dream Center and more were also on hand sharing information and providing giveaways for attendees.

The event offered something for all ages and backgrounds, with no requirements to be able to partake of the services and many giveaways.

Several churches banded together to collect school supplies, which filled backpacks given away to kids and families preparing for the upcoming school year. Other volunteers prepared meals, provided free family portraits and haircuts, repaired bicycles. In addition to backpacks, groups gave away sunglasses, children’s books, new socks, bottled water.

A thriving “Kids Zone” bustled the activity of kids, and kids at heart, at play with games including cornhole, bucket stacking, and other carnival midway style games and crafts.

According to Hembree there was no charge for any of the goods or services offered at the event.

BCHD Director Karen Winkelman, whose organization was represented at the event, said it was wonderful to see the community come together for such a positive purpose. 

“This is awesome. It’s just a lot of happiness, it’s just great to see this many people together and interacting in such a positive way.”