By Emma Uber
On July 4, an estimated 2,000 people will gather on the front lawn of Carmel United Methodist Church to enjoy food, fun and fireworks, all while raising money for various CUMC missions.
Given CUMC’s proximity to the CarmelFest fireworks show, local families have been gathering on the lawn to enjoy the display for several years. This year marks the fifth year the church has embraced the crowd as an opportunity for community bonding and outreach.
“We will have our restrooms open from 5 to 11 p.m.,” Local Missions Minister Mike Podgorski said. “Greek’s Pizza and Kona Ice will be on the front drive as well. We will have synchronized music (playing) from our tower to add to the enjoyment.”
In addition to providing a convenient space and entertaining night, one of CUMC’s main objectives is to raise money for various outreach programs.
“It’s a chance for the community to get together and donate some proceeds that will go back to helping those in need in their community, so it’s a win-win,” Podgorski said. “We also want to let people know what we are doing.”
Parking, a space on the lawn, restrooms and music are free, but church members will collect donations of any size. All funds will benefit the CUMC food pantry or KidsCoats.
The CUMC food pantry feeds an average of 1,200 families per month while KidsCoats supplies those in need with more than 5,000 coats per year. According to Hamilton County KidsCoats Executive Director Linda Withrow, the rapid growth of KidsCoats into its own thriving institution is due in large part to donations from the public at similar events.
“It is a fun night for a good cause under the stars and fireworks,” Podgorski said. “So, load up the kids, an old blanket, a cooler and a little cash to enjoy some good, old-fashioned holiday fun in a welcome environment on our front lawn.”