This Saturday the community is invited out to a free picnic at the Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center where they can get to know their local first responders.
A Community Picnic is being held this weekend which aims to act as a meet-and-greet for local residents and first responders.
The event is a partnership between i Impact PC and the City of Plant City and comes after more than a year of community meetings led by i Impact PC to open the line of conversation between law enforcement and residents. The meet-and-greet will offer entertainment, free food, family friendly activities and opportunities for the community to get to know their local first responders.
“We’re doing this just because our first responders deserve to be celebrated,” Danny McIntyre, head of i Impact PC, said. “The conversation started during the protests and i Impact PC took on the issue of effective policing. It was labeled police brutality throughout the country and we looked around and really thought we didn’t have the same issue here. So we relabeled it and starting having conversations about the issues that are happing in our community so that we can build those bridges and take the steps we need to take so that we never get there. Part of that process is getting to know our first responders. We want this event to be a way for the community to celebrate our first responders and get to know who it is that answers those calls when we need them.”
Some local churches are throwing in their support of the event as well. The Community Picnic will be June 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center, 302 S. Maryland Ave. Plant City Police Department will be bringing out their mobile unit, a police car and its BearCat vehicle. Plant City Fire Rescue will be on site with its engine and ladder.
“I truly just want to thank our partners,” McIntyre said. “The city manager, the mayor, our commissioners, both chiefs (PCPD and PCFR), everyone involved has really been wonderful. I think we are all excited to have a day of celebration.”
McIntyre said this is going to be a free picnic for the entire family. There will be snow cones, face painting, popcorn, hot dogs, bottled water, chips and two bounce houses — one of which is a water slide.
Each hour will have its own unique set of emcees including members of the Strawberry Queen’s Court, who will read the names of the first responders that call Plant City home and then interview a member from PCPD and PCFR. The interviews will discuss a day in the life of a Plant City first responder and will also have unique facts and interesting tidbits about the person being interviewed.
“These people, you know they do show up in our time of need and its important that we love on our first responders and say thank you,” McIntyre said. “When things are crazy we complain, but when things calm down again we forget to say thank you. The least we can do is celebrate them. When your house is on fire these guys are running in to save your family. When there’s something dangerous going on our police show up to take care of it. We just want to say thanks.”
The goal is to make this event a yearly gathering, according to McIntyre. He said the hope is people walk away really understanding #PlantCityStrong. This is a community that looks out for each other and he said that he’s looking forward to seeing Plant City throw its support behind the picnic.
The first 200 attendees will receive free t-shirts at the event. It will also be an opportunity for those who have yet to see the new community center to check out the state-of-the-art facility.