This community is one that does not divide. No, here we are all about unity and bringing people together. Many people and events have been dedicated to causes such as this for quite some time and in the spirit of unity, they have truly made LaGrange and Troup County a humbling place to live. For many years now, one such event has been brining people of all ages and cultures together in their community and providing valuable and free services to all that attend. The event is Bringing the Ages Together and this past Saturday, September 17, E Depot Street was transformed for this wonderful event.
Wanda Jennings, owner of Mackey-Wilson-Jennings Funeral Home, understands the important role that funeral homes have played in communities for so many years now. Her father, Alfred Jennings, was the first African American on the board of trustees for West Georgia Health in 1977, was a great inspiration for Mrs. Jennings when the time came about for her dreams of putting this event together.
In an event to bring the different agencies out, she put this festival together, a festival with free food and many other fun activities. The event started in 2004 when Mrs. Jennings connected with Judy Wright at West Georgia Dialysis in the beginning and started offering health screenings at the event. Next came help from the National Kidney Foundation and John Riley.
Now the festival has exploded into an all encompassing community event, with partnerships with Warren Temple Church, Ark Refuge Ministries, and St. Paul’s Church. These are just a few of the organizations that are contributing to this event. Last year alone, over 700 people were helped by this event.
Starting the event at the funeral home, the first thing you could see would be law enforcement officers, fireman, and citizens all enjoying time together, children running, and the smells of food in the air. There was so much to see and do in this area. From there you could go across the street to the first screening area where they could do HIV testing, diabetes, natural medicines, and many other incredible services. The next church down the road offered breast exams, dental care, ask the doctor booths, and even herbal smoothies. The last church housed the kid’s clinics where parents could come with their kids to receive free medical checks and even visit with Flossy the Clown. There are simply no words to describe the incredible free services offered by this event and what it means to the community.
Mrs. Jennings, along with some of her incredible partners and unit leaders such as Kathy Phillips, Balencia Grissom, and Yvone Lopez, leader of Ark Ministries and some incredible work that they are doing to eliminate homelessness in our community, have truly crafted not just a fun festival but also a community service that is in desperate need. We so often take for granted the things that we have that others don’t, like access health care and things of that nature. Bringing the Ages Together is a 13 year long event that has made incredible strides in unity and will continue to help others for many more years to come.
Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer