Support resonates through Summerfest and beyond

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published August 16, 2015


WARREN — Summerfest is about more than supporting the community on one day in August. Organizers said the outreach is about finding ways to help individuals and families throughout the year in ways that transcend free stuff.

That said, the free groceries, school supplies and family services were definitely a welcome gift for those struggling to make ends meet.

Katie Miller, the event coordinator for Liberty Family Outreach, said Summerfest provided about 6,000 people gathered at Warren’s Shaw Park on Aug. 8 with boxes of groceries, backpacks full of school supplies, sports physicals, bike repair, haircuts, family portraits and other services. About 5,000 more people attended Summerfest at Underwood Park on the same day.

“It went really well. We could have used some more volunteers, but even with that, everyone really jumped in and made it happen,” Miller said. “The people that were there were just awesome.”

Now in its 12th year, Summerfest is the culmination of a collaborative effort between local churches, the city of Warren and a growing list of supporting businesses.

Pastor Terry Frazier, of the Liberty Foursquare Church, on 11 Mile Road west of Ryan, founded Summerfest in 2004 with the mission of supporting the community’s families in need.

That need, Frazier said, exists throughout the year and extends well beyond the goods and services provided on the day of Summerfest.

“Sometimes life gets out of control and causes a lot of different fears in our lives: fear of losing our house, fear of losing our job or fear of losing our family,” Frazier said. “We all respond to fear differently. Some people lash out. Some people lie and cheat as a result of their fear.

“A lot of people don’t like to admit they have fear, but with the way our world is going these days, there’s a lot of things to fear. People don’t know how to cope with that fear, and a lot of times they cope with it in an unhealthy way. If God is in control of their life, the fear will go away,” Frazier said.

Counselors spent time chatting with willing Summerfest-goers in a “Connections Tent” as a way of gauging the greatest needs in the community and mapping out what can be done throughout the year to help meet those needs.

“Our goal is to develop relationships with people beyond the one-day event,” Frazier said. “In the end, what we give them at Summerfest is temporal. There are a lot greater resources that are available on a regular basis.”

Miller said the support from Summerfest sponsors contributed to the success of the event this year. She credited Dayton Freight for its use of a truck to move supplies and donated goods, and Paul Mitchell the School, which brought 10 cosmetology students to provide haircuts. She also thanked Dr. Ami Hatta, of Kids First Pediatrics in Hazel Park, and nurse practitioner Veronica Shivachi-Williams, who provided sports physicals for kids in attendance at the event.