Table set for ‘Taste of Hope’ as Summerfest transitions

By: Brian Louwers, | Warren Weekly | Published March 22, 2017

WARREN — Over the last decade, the “Taste of Hope” auction and taste fest has been about raising the funds that fuel the annual Summerfest outreach. Now, organizers said it will power a series of programs aimed at personalizing the connections that Summerfest made between Warren’s associated evangelical churches and the population they serve. 

The 10th annual Taste of Hope, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. March 25 in the atrium of Warren City Hall, will feature door prizes, cuisine from local restaurants, and both live and silent auctions for an array of items and gifts. Organizers said the proceeds will fund a scaled-back Summerfest initiative Aug. 26, where they’ll continue to provide necessities including backpacks filled with school supplies, haircuts, bike repairs and sports physicals to the community in south Warren. 

Summerfest has grown to become the signature event by Liberty Family Outreach over the last 14 years. For the first time in 2017, the group will also extend the program to include a prom outreach on April 29, offering gently used prom dresses for students at Fitzgerald High School. Additionally, a community baby shower is planned for sometime in June, in partnership with the Compassion Pregnancy Center. There will also be a pair of health fairs offering dental services and physicals on dates to be determined in the future.

“For 14 years, we were committed to just reaching people in the community with hope, healing and basic necessities,” said Katie Miller, program coordinator for Liberty Family Outreach. “This year, we decided if we spread our event out into smaller outreaches, we could make a more personal impact.

“Each event will still unite churches, businesses and civic leaders to provide material needs, social healing to the broken, and hope to the hopeless in our community,” Miller said.

Pastor Terry Frazier, of the Liberty Foursquare Church, on 11 Mile just west of Ryan, founded the Summerfest outreach 14 years ago and saw it grow to become a massive endeavor that has helped thousands of families struggling to meet basic needs in south Warren. 

“The one-day event we’ve been doing for 13 years, and we’ve really helped a lot of people,” Frazier said. “We want to have more of an ongoing relationship with people throughout the year. We felt if we spread out the things we do and if we added a few more creative events, we’d be able to get more personal time face to face with people.”

Frazier said another positive outcome of the ongoing transformation of Summerfest will be a closer relationship with Fitzgerald Public Schools. Summerfest events were held at Shaw Park, not far from the high school, and Frazier said planned programs like the prom outreach are just an extension of what Liberty Family Outreach and the Alliance of Warren Evangelicals had been doing. He said managing the smaller, more focused events will also be less demanding in terms of volunteers and costs. 

“We’re also working with the superintendent to have an ongoing presence, where we’re trying to mentor kids and reach out to them,” Frazier said. “We’re excited about some of the things we’ve been working on. We’re trying to keep costs down and still reach as many people as we can.”

Tickets for the 10th annual Taste of Hope, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. March 25, cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The event will be held in the atrium at Warren City Hall at One City Square, east of Van Dyke and north of 12 Mile Road.

For tickets or more information, visit liberty4square.ticketleap.com/toh or call (586) 754-2400.