By NICOLE SMITH
An event after football games Friday night will serve to give area youth a safe environment to socialize and have fun.
A 5th Quarter Block Party will be held in front of Lavish Coffee Bar in downtown Jasper from 9 p.m. to midnight this Friday, featuring games, food and refreshments and music.
The event is sponsored by Lavish Coffee Bar, United Jasper Area Student Ministries, Ridgeview/Ridgewood Health Services, The Daily Mountain Eagle and Collins-Burke Funeral Home.
United Jasper Area Student Ministries is comprised of a group of local churches, including Jasper First Nazarene, Jasper First United Methodist Church, Jasper’s First Baptist Church, Farmstead Baptist Church, Northside Baptist Church, Westside Baptist Church, Eastside Baptist Church, Woodland Trace Church of Christ, Desperation Church and Crossway Baptist Church.
Jasper First Nazarene Church Pastor of Student Ministries Jeremy Reese said United Jasper Area Student Ministries provides youth services throughout Walker County, and they are expecting around 500 students to attend the event Friday. He stressed all area students are welcome to attend the free block party.
Each church will have a booth to give away various snacks at the block party, and there will be freebies and giveaways. Free food — such as hotdogs — will be provided, along with water.
Reese said the only thing students would have to pay for are purchases from Lavish, Main Street Taqueria or soft drinks that will be for sale.
In addition to food offerings, there will be a variety of games, including cornhole, inflatables and video game projectors.
“We want to provide a safe environment for students to come hang out, have fun and get to spend time with their friends after the football games,” Reese said. “There are a lot of other things they could be doing on Friday night, so if we’re able to provide that, then we want to be able to provide that.”
Daily Mountain Eagle Publisher James Phillips said he is happy the newspaper could help sponsor the event for area youth.
“It’s our hope that people always think of area high school football and the Daily Mountain Eagle together. We enjoy highlighting our area schools and showcasing their accomplishments,” Phillips said. “This is another way that our newspaper can show our support for area students, by helping to sponsor a fun event that gives youth a positive form of entertainment.”
Reese said the evening will also serve as an opportunity to put rivalries aside and connect with other people.
“These events are a chance for us to put aside all of that and come together and worship, have fun together and spend time getting to know one another more — figuring out what unites us more than divides us,” he said.