MANSFIELD — Geron Tate felt blessed on Saturday even before the second-annual “Community Garage Sale” started.
“Excellent weather,” he said with a huge smile, standing under blue skies in the parking lot of the Imani Activity and Events Center at the corner of Bowman and Sprimgmill streets.
“We prayed for it, of course, but we’re thankful that Mother Nature is aiding and assisting us today,” said Tate, who helped to organize the event.
Tate, executive director at G L Tate & Associates, LLC, said the free event would include more than a dozen vendors, giveaways, raffles, activities, presentations and music, including a jazz performance by Garlan McCruter Sr.
“We started out as just a garage sale, selling a few things. And then as more people became aware of what’s going on, they signed up to have arts and crafts tables here and organizations wanting to provide information for the community,” Tate said.
“Hopefully everyone’s going to come out and have good time,” he said as the day-long event got underway at 10 a.m. “We’re going to have music today. We will have food later on. It’s evolved into something bigger than what we thought it was going to be.”
Tables were set up in the parking lot and also inside the Imani center, including representatives from Richland Public Health, the Cleveland Clinic and Family Life Counseling, among others.
Edward Akinyemi, an entrepreneur, had a table providing information about financial literacy and asking residents to sign a petition in support of statewide legislation to require a financial literacy course in high schools.
While working as research and development coordinator at the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Akinyemi has said was surprised at the recurring need for credit repair and financial coaching among the communities he served.
Proceeds from the Community Garage Sale event go to local non-profit organizations that benefit the north end community. More importantly to Tate, it’s a chance for residents to come together.
“What we’d really like to do is get people to understand first and foremost that we can come together and socialize and participate without any type of anxiety or conflict among ourselves,” Tate said.
“It’s a a chance for people on the north end to participate and to unite the community, to show we can do things for ourselves.
“I think it’s very important for events like this to eliminate some of the negativity that has been brought onto our community,” Tate said.
“Having the Cleveland Clinic come on board with us today is awesome, because (the north end) is one of the only places in the area that does not have a medical facility in our community,” Tate said.
“We’re looking at how we can have more ownership in our community and find ways to get things done,” he said.
“We want to help to create a sense of hope and peace in our community. Start a movement. The north end is a very diverse community that is starting to rebuild itself,” Tate said.