By: David Manafo
Do you know your neighbour? It’s a question I ask people often. Years ago standing at the corner waiting for the school bus with my kids, my neighbour admitted to me that he’s lived on the street for years and hardly knew anyone.
When our church thought about what it means to be a community partner, we decided that we should host a free Community BBQ that celebrates and connects community. It fits two of our core commitments: nurturing relationships and impacting communities.
West Island Community BBQ happened on August 28th on the grounds of West Island College in DDO and has been running for 13 years. In the early days we sponsored 100%, but today 90% of our food and drinks are locally sponsored while we continue to cover the overhead and entertainment costs. We’re privileged to have long time partners like Rockaberry, Belle Pro, and Starbucks. This year Jukebox came on board. Local merchants like La Verita, Piada, and Hansel & Bagel gave out prizes. Break City has performed for years. This year’s addition was West Islander Britanny Kennell (Nashville based singer). All this makes our BBQ special to us and our guests.
With rain in the forecast right until the morning of this year’s event, our team made the call to go indoors. However, every passing minute our gut was saying go outdoors. Like a positive protest movement our 10AM team huddle erupted with a final outdoor call. Within minutes 6 teams went at it and by 11AM we were ready to host outdoors. It is the kind of commitment and joy of any good community cause.
Community BBQ exists to connect people to each other. Now hundreds connect every year reconnecting to old friends or meeting new ones. Join us next year at the end of August. Bring a lawn chair and some friends. Celebrate community. You can find us at www.communitybbq.ca or www.facebook.com/communitybbq
David Manafo is a local DDO resident who loves seeing his neighborhood and city flourish. Happily married with two kids. He’s the pastor of the Westside Gathering (a local church in DDO) (link: www.westsidegathering.com).