Along the 6100 block of 22nd Avenue in Uptown, what had been the scene of devastating fires just days ago has turned celebratory.
The only building left standing undamaged on the west side of the block is Kingdom Word Global Impact Ministries, a storefront church in what was the site of a Salvation Army store.
Inside Friday afternoon there was the lingering smell of smoke and growing piles of food and supplies. Outside, there were people painting murals on boarded windows, children gathered at a table under a small tent taking donations, and people sitting on concrete flower boxes sharing meals.
“They thought they were breaking something but they were bringing us more strongly together,” said Arnetta Griffin as she stood in the church parking lot.
Griffin, a member of the church, has been providing meals and supplies for homeless people and others in need in the Uptown neighborhood for several years through God’s Kitchen of Kenosha.
On Saturday, Griffin, Kingdom Word Pastor David Montgcomery and members of the church will host a free event in the parking lot for people recovering for what has been a crushing week for the community.
The Kenosha BBQ will be held at the church, 6114-22nd Avenue, Saturday from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.
Uptown was the center of rioting and fires on Monday, with the west side of 22nd Avenue from 61st Street south to Roosevelt Road burning. Montgomery said people began dropping off donations the day after the fire. Since then, the church has become the unofficial hub for volunteers and donations.
“It’s a continuation,” Montgomery said of the BBQ. “It’s a continuation of the donations and feeding the community. It also brings some healing and gives us the opportunity to speak to some of the key pieces that are happening and the healing process that needs to be done.”
God’s Kitchen and the church are accepting donations for the party and the community at the church before and during the party. Griffin suggested that donations of products like diapers, hygiene products and food are especially welcome.
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