East End Baptist Community Fest parties with a purpose

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 10, 2024

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Providing “fun and fellowship with a purpose,” East End Baptist Church gave back to the community on Saturday, April 27, at its 2024 Community Fest.

The festival saw Suffolk community members and partners enjoy free food, vendors, games, and live music. Partners in attendance included Suffolk Public Schools, Suffolk Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk Police Department, Suffolk Fire and Rescue, and Sentara Mobile Unit, which provided blood screenings and vaccinations for residents in need.

East End Baptist Church Community Fest Chairman Charnele Banks says the festival was originally a block party. Still, following its end during the COVID-19 pandemic, the church put together the Community Fest to give back to the community.

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“This is a time that our church can give back to the community,” Banks said. “This is something that we look to do once a year to give back.”

Noting the church being a staple to the City of Suffolk, East End Baptist Church Ministry Leader Juliette Thompson expressed how great it was for the church to give back to residents.

 “As a member of East End Baptist Church, it’s just a joy to see how we can give back to the community. We want to give back to the community,” Thompson said. “This community fest is just a way for the community to know that we’re still here, and we’re still ready to serve them.”

East End Baptist Chair Community Fest Co-Chair Alexis Smith spoke positively on seeing various “pillars” of Suffolk attending the event.

“The school, the church, neighbors, people passing by, just coming over to have one good time,” Smith said.

Likewise, Banks said seeing everyone come together is what “it’s all about” for East End Baptist Church.

“There’s so much going on, negativity, and this is a positive time that we can give back and let everybody love on [each] other,” Banks said. “Sometimes we are seeing friends that we haven’t seen in a long time. Just rekindle and make new friendships and new partnerships.”