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Block Party Draws Crowd
An attendee checks out how much sugar is in commonly consumed drinks at a booth at the Center for Human Services Oakdale center Block Party on Oct. 5. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

A large crowd turned out for the Second Annual Oakdale Community Block Party on Oct. 5, hosted by the Center For Human Services (CHS) – Oakdale Family Resource and Counseling Center. Mann Avenue was closed between F and G streets with vendors lining both sides of the street and a multitude of people of different ages strolling between the booths at the start of the event. The CHS Oakdale center is located at the corner of F Street and Mann Avenue.

This is only the second year for the event but it has tripled in size from last year, according to Tamberly Humble, Program Coordinator for the Oakdale center.

“We decided to do the Block Party so we could bring all the resources that happen in Oakdale, even if they don’t have offices in Oakdale, so they could be all together in one place – and have fun, too,” Humble explained.

She noted that CHS Oakdale Resource Center focused the event for kids in school and families, but that it’s really for everyone in the community. CHS Oakdale helps link up people with various services that they need for themselves or their families.

“We want to connect what we do with the community to our building,” said Erika Steves, family advocate at the Oakdale center. “There are a lot of families that don’t know what we do.”

There were more than 25 different vendors at the event, ranging from educational and family help services to fun for the kids.

One very popular booth was the Community Auxiliary Police Services (CAPS) volunteers, who were there fingerprinting children and taking photos of them to put on print outs for parents. Some of the other booths represented were Moms of Pre Schoolers (MOPS), Oak Valley Hospital, Haven Women’s Center, the Health Services Agency’s Healthy Birth Outcomes program, Oakdale Library, Stanislaus Literacy Center, Children’s Crisis Center, Parents United, Prime Time Nutrition, Stanislaus Justice Center, California Rural Legal Assistance, the Oakdale Animal Shelter, youth services, health clubs, and several others. These are all agencies that CHS deals with to direct individuals and families in the area to for various types of assistance.

“We want to show the community we’re here and what we have to offer,” Humble said. “It’s about outreach and connecting.”

Some of the fun booths included face painting, balloon animals, a petting zoo, a Zumba demonstration, story time, and photo booth. There was also a free book giveaway and a free market that people could go through once and fill a bag with donated clothing items and coats, as well as household items and toys.

Attendees also got a “passport” with each of the booths’ names and locations at the Block Party. If they visited each booth and got their passport fully stamped, then they could enter a drawing to win prizes and also another bag to go through the free market.