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East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

EAST SPENCER — Town Alderman Tony Hillian wasn’t sure if there would be a community day this year because of all the uncertainty in the world.

But after a month of planning, the lawn in front of the old school administration building at 110 North Long St. was filled Saturday with people who came to take advantage of what the day had to offer. The day is Hillian’s regular project as an alderman, and he worked with community members to make the day happen in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voter registration, Census counting, food, blood pressure checks, baby supplies, socks and more were all on offer for free with music. And while the lawn was busy, booths were well spaced out.

Hillian said being able to hold the event during the pandemic makes it special. Booths were spaced out so attendees could maintain social distance. The event had 25 volunteers come out to make it happen.

Hillian said he thinks the event went well despite the short planning period and the pandemic.

“Next year we’re going to make it even bigger,” Hillian said, adding he thanks God for working through him to plan events like this.

Alderman John Noble said he wasn’t surprised the event came together. A lot of people who live in East Spencer care about the town, Noble said.

East Spencer Mayor Barbara Mallett pointed to the voter registration and Census counting as the most important parts of the day. Mallett said the town needs to increase its Census response rate because that translates into more money for the town. The town’s self-response rate is just 33.4%.

“We need people to be actively engaged and make sure they do what they need to do for the city,” Mallett said.

The town partnered with Love Christian Center and Church of God Prophecy for the event. Love Christian Center Pastor Antonio Snipes said the day is an opportunity for fellowship.

“It’s about love,” Snipes said. “My message is that we continue to do things in love. That’s our motto.”

Dwayne Burns, of Love Christian Center and Burns Catering, catered the event for free.

“My thing is why not?” Burns said. “With all the negative going on, we need some positivity in the community.”

Burns also said it is important for the town to increase its Census response rate and register people to vote.

Andrew Mitchell grew up in East Spencer, and said he wants to be part of any event the town organizes.

“It’s a great community,” Mitchell said.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Warm Heart Warm Socks and Piedmont Black Nurses Association and Essie Mae Kiser Foxx Charter School, Salisbury Pregnancy Center all participated.

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