Organizers call new-look Summerfest a success

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published August 31, 2017

 Sports physicals, haircuts and backpacks full of school supplies were among the back-to-school necessities awaiting families who came out by appointment to Summerfest this year.

Sports physicals, haircuts and backpacks full of school supplies were among the back-to-school necessities awaiting families who came out by appointment to Summerfest this year.

Photo provided by Katie Miller

WARREN — Summerfest took on a new format this year, but the changes made resulted in an effective outreach and one that allowed the organizers to more closely connect with the families they served.

“It went so well. There’s a lot to build on, and we’ve got a lot to learn from it, but yes, it’s a keeper,” said Katie Miller, program coordinator for Liberty Family Outreach, which founded Summerfest 14 years ago.

After more than a dozen years of events held annually in one or two city parks in south Warren, the organizers transitioned Summerfest this year to serve families by appointment at Liberty Foursquare Church on 11 Mile, west of Ryan, Aug. 26. There, they provided the same services that families have come to appreciate: free backpacks full of school supplies, sports physicals, haircuts and other back-to-school necessities.

“We allowed for up to 500 families. That’s not what we had register,” Miller said. “We had about 300 families, and 1,000 to 1,200 people attended, which is pretty good considering the size of our property.”

The outreach was supported by Blue Care of Michigan; Bell Amore Salon of Macomb and its owner, Ashley Sonnefeld; Visionworks; and Woodside Bible Church.

Miller said Sonnefeld provided back-to-school haircuts for a third straight year, and Visionworks donated eye exams and vouchers for 25 kids in need of glasses.

Pastor Terry Frazier, of Liberty Foursquare Church, Summerfest’s founder, said earlier this summer that a deeper connection with the families served would help the outreach resonate throughout the year.

“Our mission was to connect with the Warren community on a deeper level, and we did,” Miller said. “Our mission was accomplished.”