Festival focuses on uplifting families

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Hundreds of people gathered at McMillen Park Saturday for the 4th Annual Amnesty and Deliverance Festival.

Joseph Ayers created the festival in an effort to bring the community together. He said he wanted to highlight the importance of a relationship between churches and the community. Throughout the day, people can enjoy live music, poetry, vendors, free hair cuts, and local food. People can also visit Information booths throughout the festival area which focus on social service agencies, financial institutions, housing, education, legal, employment, health/medical, and crime prevention. Ayers said his goal is to inundate people with information and resources to improve their life. In addition to the information booths, the NAACP Women’s chapter gave away school supplies and children could get free identification cards printed by New York Life Insurance. Also, two men, one who’s originally from Fort Wayne, came to the festival to give away free ties from their consignment shop to show the young men in our community how to dress for success.

A boys and girls basketball tournament was held at the new McMillen Center gym, and festival attendees participated in a balloon release honoring all of the homicide victims in our community as well as the families they left behind. Organizers are also collecting canned goods for Community Harvest and giving away free clothes for kids going to school or people who may need new interview attire.

“A lot of time we miss a lot of people,” Ayers said. “We don’t work together for the same common good. I’m old school, and we were brought up that we help the next man that needs help that’s why we do the food drive and the clothing drive, so people can help each other.”

NewsChannel 15’s Eryn Rogers presented the community awards at the festival which highlighted outstanding members of our community including Deputy Police Chief Derrick Westfield of the Fort Wayne Police Department and Fire Chief Eric Lahey.

The event is from 1 to 9 p.m.

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