Church stands ‘United for the Community’

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

The United Methodist Church of Anoka hosted its sixth annual United for the Community back-to-school event Aug. 24.

Hundreds lined up outside of the church before the event began at 5 p.m. As many as 500 were expected to come through the church before the event wrapped up at 8 p.m.

Anoka-Hennepin students were able to collect school supplies. Children’s books and clothing were also available for families to take home.

“My kids are very excited about getting new school supplies,” Traci Yang said.

Her children, Avi, Diamond, Cyrstal and Harvard Yang, were grinning widely as they collected bags of school supplies less than two weeks before classes begin in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

Back-to-school haircuts were available for youngsters at no cost, and other booths offered additional health and education resources.

Families had the opportunity to purchase dinner at cost and could snack on free popcorn while listening to World Beat Connection perform live.

Inflatables, face painting, balloon animals and more entertained kids outside the church.

“It’s a wonderful community project,” said Rick Fossum, interim senior pastor at UMCA. “We have many, many volunteers.”

Volunteers like Julie Hammel, co-chairperson of the event with Jim January, see great worth in such outreach.

“Our church provides hope by making disciples in our community,” Hammel said.

[email protected]

Families line up outside of the United Methodist Church of Anoka Aug. 24 for the sixth annual United for the Community event, where clothes, school supplies and more are distributed. Photos by Olivia Alveshere Volunteer Dale Brown hands books and crayons to families with young children. Brandon Kimmons, 12, gets his hair cut before the first day of school. World Beat Connection performed at the United for the Community event Aug. 24. The Tawfeek family learns about Cub Scout Pack 516, which meets out of the United Methodist Church of Anoka, from Leslie Dabrowski. Two-year-old Sumeya Mohammed enjoys free popcorn at the United for the Community event. Cherie Ritter transforms 4-year-old Julian Hartl into Flash Gordon with face paint. The Yang siblings – Avi, Diamond, Crystal and Harvard – receive new school supplies at the United for the Community event.
<
>
Families line up outside of the United Methodist Church of Anoka Aug. 24 for the sixth annual United for the Community event, where clothes, school supplies and more are distributed. Photos by Olivia Alveshere