Officer Trena Yarber, Barrett and JPD P4 Commander James McGowan

It’s easy to “get to know” your neighbors online, but would you recognize them if you came face to face? That’s one of the goals of an upcoming picnic at Fondren Park.

ourFondren neighborhood association will host the first-ever Fondren Community Appreciation Picnic on Saturday, August 17 from 4pm to 7pm at Fondren Park at the corner of Northview and Dunbar.

This year, the picnic will honor Jackson Police Department Precinct Four. Susan Margaret Barrett is president of ourFondren: “We want to show appreciation for our neighbors, our organizations and the community leaders who make this a wonderful neighborhood.”

Hamburgers and hotdogs will be served along with Pepsi products from Brown Bottling Group. Neighborhood resident Kamikaze will handle entertainment duties on the day. Barrett adds there will be plenty of activities for kids and picnic-goers are welcome to bring a covered dish or dessert to share, potluck style.

This year’s honorees, JPD Precinct Four, are the first of what Barrett hopes to be many who are recognized with this annual picnic. Next year, she says, the recipients may be streets and water or the mayor and council. Barrett says “We have so many who do so much for Fondren and they deserve to be lauded.”

In bringing the community face to face with police officers and their commanding officers, Barrett says the goal is to help build unit morale. “We want to make them understand we support them, we value them, and we are proactive here,” she explains.

ourFondren is responsible for bringing the national neighborhood website, NextDoor, to the community but Barrett is reminded of her mother, councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon’s words. “She’s always said, ‘the world works one on one.’” Barrett believes it’s important for us to know each other online but, face to face, the bonds of community can grow stronger.

The Fondren Community Appreciation picnic will help neighbors get to know neighbors. Barrett says: “If you have people on a street that are willing to take that active role, it will make a huge difference. One by one, it builds a tight knit block and a tight knit community.”

ourFondren adds a special thanks to Jim Wilkirson and Fondren Renaissance for their support and assistance in making the event possible.

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