COLUMBIA, S.C. — Serve & Connect held a block party at Lorick Park to help build relationships between the community and law enforcement.
Hayward McCrea and his family heard about the event through Facebook.
"I think it's awesome the law enforcement is out here," said McCrea. "All officers are not bad. They're participating with the kids out here today. They're feeding the kids, giving them water, hot dogs and stuff like that. I think it's a good thing for the kids."
Deputy Chief Melron Kelly with Columbia Police says this event is therapeutic for them because they're spending time with neighbors in the community.
"It's good for us to come out of the uniform, if you will, for a little bit and spend some time building relationships and trust with our young people," said Deputy Chief Kelly.
The block party featured food, games, music. It was free for the community to attend.
"We always want to take an opportunity to build relationships with the community and let the officers and the community know that we're here to help each other," explained Deputy Chief Kelly. "If we want to really have a safe community, we've got to do it together and that's what we want."
Kassy Alia Ray, the Founder of Serve & Connect, says this is part of their North Columbia Youth Empowerment Initiative.
"The North Columbia Youth Empowerment Initiative is all focused on bringing people together to create a community where you can thrive," said Alia Ray. "The more we know one another, the more we have positive actions, the more we can make a positive difference together."
Alia Ray says the non-profit is looking forward to having more events like this in the future.
"Serve & Connect is all about bringing people together. We haven't stopped over this past year, but it's been tough," explained Alia Ray. "People have been isolated, haven't been able to come together and today really is a celebration of us coming together, loving on one another and having a great time."