Organizers expect big crowd at Unity Day

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Organizers are planning for some 900 people to attend this year’s Unity Day, which is set for this Saturday at Grace Fellowship in Atmore.

Event Coordinator Ruth Robinson said last year, organizers were expecting 400 people to show up, but more than 625 turned out for the event.

“This year, we’re planning for 900,” Robinson said. “We’re excited about that.”

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Unity Day is a fun-filled day for family that’s free, and is a day that encourages education in Atmore for children and parents, Robinson said.

“The way we encourage education for children is that we provide pre-school uniforms and pre-school supplies,” she said. “We encourage education for the parents by requiring them, when they come, to visit community resource information booths.”

Unity Day will last from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. with doors opening at 10:30 a.m.

Robinson said the booths, which will be comprised of the Atmore Area YMCA, the Atmore Public Library, and the Department of Human Resources, among many others, helps better parents and members of the community.

The day is also set aside to help provide free school uniforms and school supplies.

Robinson said families that come to Unity Day receive a voucher card, and then have to visit at least 10 of the community resource booths and speak with them.

“Once they have completed that, they are eligible to receive a voucher for uniforms and school supplies,” she said.

Robinson said while parents are visiting booths, kids can participate in a carnival type atmosphere, filled with bouncy houses, slides, cotton candy, pony rides and carnival games.

In addition, the Poarch Creek Dancers will perform, and Deputy Danny Lambert with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office will hold a drug dog demonstration with his dog, “Ajax.”

Inside of the church, Christian Comedian and Ventriloquist Ryan and Friends, will be performing in the church, Robinson said.

Unity Day’s origin goes back to 1998, Sandra Gray, who is with Concerned Citizens of Atmore, said. The CCA is one of the event sponsors, including Grace Fellowship and the Brewton District Missionary Department.

Gray said it wasn’t until 2010 when the event began to grow, and in 2014, Unity Day took a turn for the better. Last year, Grace Fellowship partnered with CCA to put on the event.

Gray said between five and six organizations and local businesses helped donate to purchase school uniforms and supplies, adding that most of the uniforms are recycled.

“Seventy-five percent of the people that come will get uniforms,” she said. “We have more recycled than new.”

Gray said she’s grateful for Grace Fellowship and the Brewton District Missionary Department.

Robinson said volunteers are needed for the event. Those interested can call her at 251-253-5253.

“I have been very encouraged and astounded by the community response to this event, and how they are supporting it,” Robinson said. “This is not an event for people who need school uniforms and supplies, this is an event to be proud of your community and family, and it’s a free fun-filled day to celebrate the good things in our community.”