Feed The 5000: July 4th, 2020
This past Saturday, we were able to change lives. We combined our passion for music, our connections with amazing business owners, our love for some local communities right here in Norfolk, and we brought it all together. One thing I have seen in my 30 years is 3 things that bring people together: Music, Food, and Love! Those are the things I have seen over and over again especially as a Wedding DJ that bring so much joy, hope, excitement, and unity to people especially across racial, socioeconomics, gender, and all of the above! It connections people and makes everyone feel that they matter!
As we gathered together in the Oakleaf Park Community we were hopeful, slightly overwhelmed but full of excitement and love with a truck full of groceries. We were ready to serve these wonderful families and make their day. 37 Volunteers came in shifts and we got to work, we packaged bags of groceries full of mac & cheese, juices, greens, chicken, snacks, and all types of other goodies. The week leading up to this special celebration we received over $2000 worth of donations and we went directly to shop and picking up groceries to collect prior to Saturday, July 4th. It was a fun adventure that allowed us to collaborate with some other amazing individuals and business owners to best serve the needs of the families in need.
You may be thinking? Why this...How did this begin?
I would start with my own hunger...and the hunger of my wife and the hunger of my son. We know what it feels like to be hungry, to grow up in low-income areas...to wonder where your next meal is coming from. We also have seen how special it feels when someone brings you food. Think of this like receiving a package from Amazon that you really wanted and you didn't even order it or know it was coming to you.
During these times, people are desperately crying out “Do I Matter?” People that are hurting and want to feel they matter but also people that want to help and feel they matter. We wanted to simply bridge the gap. But the other sad truth is Black Families are disproportionately affected by food crises. With COVID-19 still looming, low-income black families are overwhelmingly being impacted by a harsh economic downturn. They're struggling to meet basic needs. Black children's bellies are empty, and their parents may be struggling to fill them. When we thought about all the suffering these families are experiencing, we asked ourselves what WE could do to help. Maybe you've asked yourself the same question. I remember very vividly as a school counselor seeing my students come to school hungry and have difficulties being able to focus because of that hunger, which we can all relate to! I know I get a little cranky when I am hungry.
Some of you have already generously helped us put in the legwork to make our goal a reality. You've shopped for groceries. You've donated your hard-earned money. You've shared our posts on social media. You've spread our goal through word of mouth and we can not say enough how much we appreciate it!
When July 4th came around and the volunteers started to roll in we set up immediately and the local children started lining up immediately as they recognized me from the week prior and realized we were there to help! We set up a few tables, I set up my DJ Sound System, we got the coolers, we had the groceries sorted out on the tables & we immediately began passing them out to families. I channeled my MC skills to make announcements to the locals to stop by our table. We served a ton of families as they begin to come up, dance with us, and get fed. After about 90 minutes I realized we could serve more families if we went door to door but I also realized that because of potential handicaps, kids not being able to leave their house I asked our volunteers if they wanted to go house to house.
At that point, the game changed!
We were able to bring joy and love to each door we knocked on. Most people were so overwhelmingly appreciative, they offered every bit of gratitude that they could express. We filled up our strollers and wagons and walked the entire neighborhood. We saw grandmothers who were wheelchair-bound and were to the point of tears because they were able to feed their entire families. We saw kids come to the door with the biggest grin on their faces as they immediately began going through the bags for lunch! Some areas people were all standing outside just enjoying their Saturday and we were able to bring a great degree of relief and encouragement to them. It made their whole week, their whole day to see first-hand people that deeply and passionately care about them.
My wife cried on the way home as she was able to see our network of neighbors, church members, business owner friends all come together for this cause! We received tons of donations from some of the individuals that we want to take the time to thank below.
Susan & Josh Fowler
Curtis & Emily Pavlik
The Girl Tyler
Ryann & Hunter Winn
Victoria Anne Photo
Audrey Rose Photo
Marcel & Kendra Horton
Michael & Jasmine Photography
Blair Family Woodcraft
Lavoy & Marva
Marcus Robinson Realty
Wild Heart Co
Liz A You
DJ G Baby
Jacklyn & Joey
Yolanda with By Love Events
The Married Couple
If you are interested in volunteering or donating please check out my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DjWestentertainment for more information!
Support black business, music is love, support small businesses, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, wedding DJ, food drive, helping out, spread love, Hampton Roads, 757, tidewater, donate, volunteer