APPS We Care Tour: Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Hits the Streets to Show Care and Concern for the Community
COLUMBUS, OH – A knock on the door, a
bottle of hand sanitizer and a few items to help reduce stress are bringing a
smile to the faces of some of Columbus’ most vulnerable residents.
public health emergency has put a strain on the City, and some of Columbus’
residents are feeling it more deeply than others. To show residents the City of
Columbus is here to support them, Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’
APPS team is going door-to-door with the We Care Tour. The APPS (Applying Purpose and Passion to Service) program
works to empower communities to create positive change.
We Care Tour is designed to decrease
isolation and show care and concern from the City of Columbus. APPS youth, APPS
intervention specialists and CARE social workers are connecting families with
resources and assist with system navigation while delivering We Care totes. The
totes contain stress relief items, COVID-19 supplies such as hand sanitizer and
recreational items, including sports equipment and arts supplies.
The tour uses a
block-by-block approach that focuses on communities with a high level of need
and increased incidents of violence. Staff wear face coverings and practice
social distancing to ensure the safety of residents and staff.
“We have seen the strain the
pandemic is placing on our community through increased violence, increased
stress and increased financial insecurity,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “Connecting
residents with much-needed resources and supplies to reduce stress and stay
healthy is a simple, but effective, way to show our community that we care.”
In previous years, the
department hosted the Cap City Nights festivals to encourage relationship building among families and neighbors, which strengthened
community ties and empowered the community to work together to reduce violence and
create a platform of trust to produce positive change. With no large public
events allowed due to the public health emergency, the Cap City Nights festivals
were canceled. The team knew the need existed, and developed the We Care Tour
to address current needs.
“We knew the need for an event like Cap City Nights would be
even greater this year, and we had to find a way to support our community,”
said Eric Brandon, assistant director for Columbus Recreation and Parks
Department. “We talked with our APPS youth and community partners to come up
with the We Care tour, allowing us to support those residents with the greatest
need while keeping everyone safe.”
The tour, which kicked off last month, will reach 2,000
families throughout the fall. The program already has impacted more than 400
families – including the staff who are out walking the neighborhoods.
APPS youth who are handing out the totes door-to-door shared
that people are surprised when they knock on their doors, and they are really
happy that the City is giving them these totes. They can tell they are making a
**** Media Availability: APPS
participants will be packing We Care totes 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, at
Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s warehouse, 1533 Alum Industrial
Drive W., Columbus, Ohio 43209. Media are invited to see the totes and talk
with APPS participants about their experience interacting with the community. ****