Beginning Friday, September 25th and ending on Monday, September 28th, Alliance for Community Empowerment held its first ‘Census Blitz’ in Bridgeport to promote the importance of filling out the 2020 United States Census and help community members fill it out on site at events throughout the weekend. This campaign was aptly titled ‘Bridgeport United’ and attracted hundreds of community members. The 2020 United States Census is important especially during these times where our nation is slowly recovering from a worldwide pandemic. We need to ensure that federal and state funding is widely available for us in the future and the 2020 US Census is an integral part of that solution.
The first event in the blitz was held at 985 Stratford Avenue in the Isaac Baker Parking lot. In addition to adults filling out the US Census for their families, children received free backpacks, ice cream, food and enjoyed a fun Alliance branded photo booth experience. Special giveaways included Amazon Fire Tablets and other technology to keep families entertained at home. Masks and other PPE were given out as the community enjoyed tunes from a live DJ. In addition to assisting community members to complete the 2020 Census, Alliance case workers were on site to distribute information and help people sign up for various services provided by Alliance. Other organizations such as the East End Food Bank, East End NRZ Market & Café, The Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Y.A.N.A (You Are Not Alone), The Bridgeport Census 2020 Count Committee, Project Longevity, Ain’t no Stopping Us Now, Cousin’s Kitchen, SNAPBACK, and Career Resources were also present and contributed to this wonderful inaugural event to kick off the weekend. Special thanks to Mrs. Deb Simms from the East End NRZ Market and Café for coordinating this event!
The second event picked up where the first left off and continued to be a special event for the blitz. Community youth leader and supporter Harry Bell was present and was elated at the turnout. His organization, The Color a Positive Thought, played an instrumental role in getting more community members to come out, have a great time, and fill out the Census. Mr. Bell’s organization has fed over 7,000 families in Bridgeport since the pandemic began this year and has a strong focus on providing a safe space for youth members in our community at Trumbull Gardens. Dozens of community members flocked to the “The Color a Positive Thought & Census Tremendous Community Shindig” to fill out the Census and have a great time. Free food was also provided along with prizes and giveaways. Thanks to our friend Jon Lett of Hip Hop 1001, the event featured music from his group.
The big finale to Alliance’s Census Blitz was held on Monday, September 28, 2020 from 9 AM to 2 PM. The event was also host to Alliance for Community Empowerment’s citywide, Free Community Food Distribution across the street from the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Attendees enjoyed music, free ice cream, information on our programs and much more. Those in attendance arrived at 9 AM sharp and started to receive the Bridgeport Blessing Boxes shortly after. Thanks to the Bridgeport Police Department, the event was smooth and orderly considering the amount of families interested. A capacity crowd was drawn to the event as cars lined up on Park Avenue for a couple of blocks. Community members waited patiently as Alliance staff and volunteers distributed over 700 food boxes within the first hour.
Guests at our Free Community Food Distribution participated in free COVID-19 testing, completion of the United States 2020 Census, sign-ups for our Energy and Supportive Services with an Alliance case manager and enjoyed special giveaways. We were also able to provide over 150 books, as well as masks, to families thanks to our partnership with Suzannah Holsenbeck of the organization Read to Grow.
Jordyn Brown from Birthday Gifts for Charity was also present to surprise Alliance with a generous $720 donation. Brown created her organization with a goal to raise funds through donations or events and distribute those funds to local organizations and charities that are often overlooked by the mass population of contributors and donors. “I am very grateful for this check to Alliance by Jordyn Brown. This was such a surprising moment, it made my day!”, stated Executive Director of Alliance for Community Empowerment Dr. Monette Ferguson.
“What a great event,” said Alliance’s Director of Operation & Planning, Zeljka Trivunovic. “Special thanks to all Alliance staff, our firefighters, Career Resources, Salvation Army, Optimus, Housatonic CC, Bridgeport Police Department, and our community members.”
At Alliance, we aim to assist the underserved in Bridgeport and surrounding communities. Our Bridgeport United Census Blitz was conducted to assist those in need to become self-sufficient contributors to society. All events were respectful of COVID-19 policies, which required masks and practicing of social distancing. Alliance’s Census Blitz was a success and Alliance anticipates hosting similar events in the future.