Independence was celebrated a week early in Chapel Hill, but not the celebration that brings about a surge of American patriotism, the annual spike in fireworks sales, and an overwhelming presence of red, white and blue. On June 28th in HOPE Gardens, the Community Empowerment Fund celebrated Financial Independence Day, a spirited gathering to commend our members and all of their accomplishments in the past year.
Members and Advocates alike came out to the gardens to enjoy fellowship, games, and a mouth-watering spread of food. The event, planned perfectly by Chapel Hill advocate Madeline Ives, kicked off with a reading of the Declaration of Financial Independence by Nikkima Santos. Her powerful voice declared and demanded equality and freedom, reminding us all of what CEF values and fights for. The afternoon was hot, but that did not keep attendees of all ages from participating in games of Frisbee and corn hole. Giftcard prizes were raffled to members, and several attendees, both willingly and encouraged by friends, showcased their talents of reciting Shakespeare and poetry, playing instruments, and singing.
Hot dogs and the works were provided by Chapel Hill mainstay, Sutton’s. Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe generously contributed fantastic side dishes. Another Franklin Street favorite, Mediterranean Deli, spiced the picnic up with hummus, pita bread and rice. Others brought homemade sides to add to the array of options. A variety of homemade pies from HOPE Gardens and a cookie cake decorated like an American flag ended the feast on a sweet note.
It was an afternoon filled with friends, family and laughter: a time to relax and be together, which painted a beautiful picture of the community CEF has fostered since opening its doors.