LANSING, Mich. — Community members, businesses and vendors all gathered in Downtown Lansing on Saturday for the fifth annual When September Ends Event.
“This is an annual performing arts showcase and community marketplace. We're honoring the struggle of a local family that recently overcame homelessness and just trying to show them some love from the community," said Erica Munchbach who organized the event and runs L-Town Jubilee, a local charity with a focus on homelessness.
Organizers gathered all kinds of donations to benefit those experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness.
“Being homeless is a pretty miserable experience. I've experienced it myself. So we're just trying to demonstrate to them from the community that we value your experience and what you went through, and we want to honor that. And it's kind of like you can think of it as a giant housewarming party.”
The event included vendors of all kinds, from fashion to lavender, in multiple forms, and food carts. In fact, each vendor has a story, many of them overcoming challenges of their own.
"We have LaWanda from Chow Hall here. And she's got an interesting story. She was in prison for thirty-four years, so all of her stuff from her food truck is inspired by stuff that's available on commissary," Munchbach said.
David and Amanda Hess attended the block party to sell some of Amanda's artwork and promote David's podcast which focuses on the stories of people who have overcome obstacles to get where they are now.
“ It's called Rising Above. It's a platform for people to come on and share their stories about overcoming trauma, and it could be anything like sexual assault or foster care. Or it could be this like it could be starting a business. The struggles of that, it's literally everything," David Hess said.
The block party also included an opportunity for local kids to show off their talents at the mic.
“I wanted to show my music production... I never really told anybody that I produce music," said Kennedy Graham-Walker. "I've been doing it since I was 10 years old, and now I just want to showcase all my other talents to other people and inspire other teenagers and children.”
Munchbach wants to create support for more people in the community because of her own experience with homelessness.
"I became homeless and it really was like the most miserable experience of my life," she said. "It's very lonely and you feel like nobody cares... So that's why I created this event-- this is just the beginning of what Jubilee has planned."
Munchbach explained that one day she wants to be able to offer housing to people in the community and create a foundation of support with resources and opportunities for people in need.
If you know of someone experiencing homelessness, reach out to L-Town Jubilee for resources.
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