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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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Open House Ministries’ block party expands

The Columbian

For its annual community block party and alumni reunion, Open House Ministries is keeping the party atmosphere but adding on a family resource fair.

In addition to the fun — free food, music, a thrift store fashion show and kid zone — attendees will find booths for 25 organizations tailored to people who are low-income or homeless, said Judi McMorine, development director at Open House. Those organizations include C-Tran, Share, Friends of the Carpenter, Medical Teams International, 211info, Clark College, Lighthouse Community Credit Union, Columbia River Mental Health Services and the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington.

“We thought it would be a good fit,” McMorine said.

In the past, the block party included vendors selling products, but it “didn’t really hit the mark,” she said.

Besides a hot meal, those who go to the party can get a free care kit, haircut and vision and dental screenings. Second Hand Solutions Thrift Store and Wheel Deals Bicycle Shop at 915 W. 13th St. will have a parking lot sale. Kelly Love, who heads the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, will host the event.

Around 500 to 600 people typically show up for the block party, which is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Greater Clark County. The nonprofit originally started the celebration as a barbecue for homeless people held next to the Columbia River. Since then, it’s moved and evolved.

The block party is 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday at 900 W. 12th St.