Taylor Park in the Hoffman Triangle hosted a Neighborhood Cares Day on Saturday (April 22) that featured a job fair, tabling from public health workers and community organizations, neighborhood cleanup teams, and clothing and food giveaways.
As a DJ played music, attendees browsed brand-new clothing that was donated to Thrive New Orleans, collected free rapid Covid tests from Resilience Force NOLA, and mingled.
Free neighborhood events like Saturday’s offer services to residents and a chance to meet people working for the city as well as connect with neighbors and community services. The well-attended event was organized by the Mayor’s office of Neighborhood Engagement, in partnership with District B Councilwoman Lesli Harris, Rebuilding Together New Orleans, the Hoffman Triangle Neighborhood Association, Thrive New Orleans, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, Resilience Force NOLA, and local businesses.
College students Milahni and Rylie (students at Xavier and Loyola, respectively) were volunteering and tabling for For Us By Us Market, a farmer’s market that features Black vendors. “I heard about it from my nutrition professor,” said Milahni, while Rylie heard about the event on Instagram.
While they had not met before, the Neighborhood Engagement event brought the two together, and they were eager to share literature about For Us By Us with the Hoffman Triangle Neighborhood.
Rebuilding Together Director of Communications Kat Schweitzer came with members of the Rebuilding Together team to trim trees around the park and organize painting. Charles Anderson, a construction manager from the organization, was supervising Americorps member Daijah Guerin and another volunteer pruning a tree in the park.
“The whole team is here,” Anderson said. Aside from helping organize the event and coordinate volunteers, Rebuilding Together is a nonprofit that works repairing homes for low-income homeowners, and is part of a national network of affiliates.
Alongside free Covid tests and hand sanitizer, Resilience NOLA workers Claudo Vanancio and David Gonzalez were providing education and outreach to residents about public health services in New Orleans, including Covid and Hepatitis C screenings. Their organization also connects people to healthcare and works to assist New Orleanians with other quality of life issues such as rental assistance.
The New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control board employees manned a table with information about the organization’s services. Their work to control the common pests that plague New Orleanians includes monitoring and exterminating rodents and insects as necessary, and providing free information to residents about best practices for pest management. The board also offers free pest inspections to New Orleans residents who might be experiencing
A few tables over, Bianca Richardson with Total Community Action was tabling for Head Start, a national program that offers early childhood care and family supportive services for qualifying families, including for children with disabilities. Richardson said that enrollment for the next school year will begin soon, and HeadStart is also opening a new location in New Orleans. She had a full sheet of information for interested parents who had stopped by the table.
“I’m glad I’m able to bring my manager a full list,” she said with a smile.
Beside the DJ, Thrive New Orleans had set up a free store with brand-new clothing for children and adults. The selection proved extremely popular, with a steady stream of attendees browsing the racks of clothing and table of sandals. Organizer Alex Patin was extremely pleased with the project’s success.
“I wish we had brought more!” she said. “We hope to be at the next event.”
The Mayor’s Office plans to hold another Neighborhood Cares Day in the Lower 9th Ward on Saturday, May 20. To keep up to date with the Office of Neighborhood Engagement, click here.