MASSENA — An annual community event started by Compassion North in 2013 will be back this summer on a limited scale compared to past years.
“Love Massena” will be held from noon to 3 p.m. July 18 in downtown Massena. It had been held at Alcoa Park since its inception.
This year’s event is scaled back because of COVID-19, according to New Testament Church Pastor Greg Hurlbut. Rather than several activities taking place at Alcoa Park, a tent will be set up on the sidewalk in front of 56 Main St. for a drive thru-event.
Mr. Hurlbut said people will be able to pull over and they’ll be handed items through their windows, including hot dogs, drinks, pre-packaged chips, cotton candy, popcorn and some free gifts such as a drawstring bag and Love Massena sunglasses.
“We’ll be wearing masks and gloves and following all social distancing guidelines, but all are welcome to stop by and receive a little bit of love. Our heart is to just tell Massena that no matter what’s happening in the world around us, we love Massena, and we want to show it in a simple way,” he said.
The first Love Massena event was held in 2013, and it featured everything from music to food, face painting to balloon creations, and basketball to tennis. The event was coordinated by Compassion North in cooperation with the Greater Massena Ministerial Association and has continued to grow over the years.
The first event was meant to do something positive in an area that at the time had seen crime ranging from an attempted abduction to drug trafficking.
The event has remained free, with activities taking place in the area around Alcoa Park.
Compassion North, also known as the Northern New York Compassion Coalition, was formed for charitable and educational purposes to resource and improve the quality of life for the many disadvantaged and under-resourced families in St. Lawrence County.
It works with other agencies to help relieve ongoing as well as emergency situations involving food shortages, clothing needs, suffering due to insufficient home weatherization, short-term housing needs, crisis counseling and other related issues.