“where you have music, it’s always great”
Gloucester Township’s National Night Out was a large, town-wide event held last Tuesday night. According to Council President Orlando Mercado, there were about 30 parties going on throughout town. Mercado was part of one of the groups of police officers and town officials that was traveling to several of the parties. The Erial Fire Hall was the group’s sixth stop.
“We have two more to stop at,” Mercado said at the event. “It’s great to come see the residents … everyone is participating.”
“We had 30 locations participate this year with thousands of residents participating. We have more and more residents participating each year,” Gloucester Township Police Department community relations officer Jennifer McLaughlin said.
“Where you have music, it’s always great,” Mercado said. “It’s good to see neighbors getting out and meeting people.”
Karla Jenkins, her husband and two daughters came to National Night Out at the Erial Fire Hall on Williamstown Erial Road, “because it is something fun in the neighborhood,” she said. “We’re enjoying it so we would come again.”
At the Erial Fire Hall, there was a DJ and several vendors. Among the vendors was Nifty Fifties, which was handing out free milkshakes.
Theresa Zizzamania said she came because her son is a firefighter who was at the event and because she works at Target.
“I work for the Sicklerville Target and volunteering,” Zizzamania said. “Usually, I volunteer. This is the first year that I am volunteering at this location.”
Zizzamania said she was enjoying the event because of the good music and the milkshakes.
“We continue to strive to build stronger relationships with our residents and businesses on a daily basis, and I think that our strong relationship with our residents and businesses shows through the overwhelming participation this year,” McLaughlin said. “Our National Night Out event was a huge success this year thanks to all who participated.”
According to the national event’s website, National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. It is meant to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community.