Your neighbor cares.
This is the message behind the inaugural National Night Out block party in Port Royal. The event, which is sponsored by Port Royal Baptist Church, will take place Aug. 7 at Stuart Towne Apartments, and the church, which is next door to the apartments, wants its neighbors to feel their love.
"When they know people care for them outside of their housing units, I think that matters," said Steven Ruff, church pastor. "People care what happens to them, and they know where they can go if they need help."
In its 29th year in communities across the country, National Night Out began as a request for residents to fight crime by turning on their front porch lights one night a year. Celebrations have expanded to cookouts, block parties, parades and festivals, said Beaufort County Sheriff's Office Staff Sgt. Mike Jennings of the Crime Prevention Unit.
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"It is a way to tell everybody we are standing up against crime, like Neighborhood Watch," Jennings said. "It is a neighborhood's way of saying, 'We are going to stand up for ourselves,' and to band together and show resolve."
The Sheriff's Office will bring dogs from its K-9 unit for people to meet. They also will conduct a bomb disposal demonstration using a robot and hand out take-home child ID kits for parents. Members of the Port Royal Police Department also will be on hand.
"People get a chance to see that community leaders and the people around care for them, and I think that builds strong communities," Ruff said.
The Port Royal Fire Department will make sure everyone has fun. In the firetruck driver's seat, just a few inches from all the buttons and switches, kids can take control, as well as have their pictures taken.
"Firetrucks are a popular toy," said Port Royal Fire Department Capt. John Robinson. "Kids push them around their homes and when they have the opportunity to get in a real big one, it is a unique experience for them."