Annual event has unity on the menu
There is nothing like food to bring people together.
The Woodbury community is gearing up for another night to hold block parties, barbecues or potlucks that would unite neighbors.
The Minnesota Night to Unite will be held Tuesday, Aug. 6, and all residents of Woodbury are encouraged to share cultural dishes that spark conversation and help neighbors get to know one another.
With the city growing and attracting new residents, the Woodbury Public Safety Department is hoping the whole community will participate in the nationwide event.
"This year, it's not necessarily a theme per se, but it's just encouraging people to get to know their neighbors from a different perspective," said Michelle Okada, the department's public information officer.
She added the night makes for a good opportunity to share dishes that tell stories about different cultures and backgrounds. Social media invitations encourage participants to bring nametags and invite new neighbors.
"It's definitely based on the growth, there is a lot of new neighbors," Okada said. "The more you know your neighbors, the more you know about them, it just creates a better bond."
That bond will also help residents watch out for each other, learn more about schedules and report anything unfamiliar or suspicious, therefore creating a safer community, she added.
A number of residents have already requested public safety appearances at their parties, which will involve police and fire equipment and some have requested hands-only CPR training.
One neighborhood comprised largely of elderly residents was interested in the Take Heart lessons, she noted.
"They want to make sure that if anything happens to their neighbors, that they're prepared to possibly help," Okada said.
Residents are not required to sign up with the public safety department. Neighborhoods can plan block parties without police appearances.
"It's just a really good opportunity to get everyone together, take the opportunity to get to know your neighbors or reconnect with them" Okada said.