The first West End Reunion over the weekend was a success as over 200 current and former residents came to Eastside Park to catch up on old times and reminisce.
“It was a huge turnout,” organizer Chris Nathan said. “It was overwhelming.”
Some even told Nathan they estimated 300 people came to the park to reminisce about old times and celebrate their heritage from the west side of the city.
Also included in that success was $2,000 in donations and 400 lbs. of school supplies for Lena Dunn Elementary school. Among those school supplies were 100 sets of headphones for students.
“The supplies are sitting in my living room right now getting sorted,” Nathan said.
Many of the donations came from events like T-shirt sales, a white elephant sale, quilt raffle and photo sales, but people came ready to help their school. A donation jar was brimming, full of small bills for the school. One donor quietly gave the reunion $500 for Lena Dunn.
The idea for the reunion came from a Facebook group for people that came from the West End. Eventually, the group came up with the idea to have a reunion and the response was large. At the park on Saturday, a pitch-in dinner was held and some had to eat outside because there were so many people.
In fact, many posted photos of long lost friends and neighbors on the Facebook page, along with well wishes and thank yous to the organizers of the event.
The West End Reunion donation drive has been one of many to help the struggling school in the past year, from various groups and organizations to individuals like Trevin Alford, a 7-year-old boy who has raised over $500 for Lena Dunn. The school has a 98 percent poverty rate.
Nathan said the group would like to make the reunion a yearly event if there is enough interest.
“Now they are starting to talk about next year,” Nathan said.