WATERTOWN — The spirit of giving flowed through the Rock Church parking lot when hundreds of people perused thousands of donated goods free to take home Saturday.
The church, located in the Seaway Plaza off Route 11, hosted its fifth annual Day in the Community event to give away furniture, books, cookware, tableware, bedding, clothes, shoes and other goods provided by residents and organizations. Attendees could also have their hair cut, blood pressure read and register to vote. Several nonprofits, including the Watertown Urban Mission and Credo Community Center, also attended to share information about their services.
Amanda Vanderwal drove to the event from Gouverneur with her son, Kason, 4, so he could pick out new toys. He collected a truck, a train and a stuffed bear Paddington, the main character of the book series and movie.
“It’s a great event. It really is. It gives back to so many community members,” she said.
Pastor Myron K. Jamerson, who kicked off the event years ago to address a need in the community, placed no limits on the number of items people could take, allowing anyone, whether their rich, poor or middle class, to grab whatever they needed.
About 80 percent of donated items came from residents, and organizations provided the other 20 percent, said Rev. Mr. Jamerson, wearing a shirt that read “Pastor: because hardcore devil stomping ninja isn’t an official job title.” Previous events have yielded enough goods for people to furnish their entire homes, he said.
“Every year, it gets bigger and bigger, and that’s what motivates me. Plus we love giving here,” the Rev. Mr. Jamerson said.
LaKendrick Darby attended the event for the first time, and grabbed a painting of a black tree. He said the painting attracted him because the tree in it resembled a face tattoo on the late rapper XXXTentacion, who was shot and killed last year.
“It’s definitely a good cause,” Mr. Darby said about the event. “Honestly, I feel like it just gives back. A lot people who are here who don’t have to much things are able to get things ... everybody wins.”