It’s been pretty rainy today, but Mentoring Positives Executive Director Will Green is confident that the sun will come out for tonight’s Carts for Community in Worthington Park.
“Don’t be fooled; the sun is coming. It’s going to be a great day today and it’s going to be a good time. With this Carts for Community, we really want to draw more people to the neighborhood. We want to display these neighborhoods in a way that people won’t call it ‘challenged’ no more,” Green tells Madison365. “The only way to do that is to come out and meet people and to know people and see what’s going on. Even if it’s only for five or ten minutes.”
The Darbo-Worthington neighborhood is located off E. Washington Ave a little over three miles east of the state Capitol building.
“Darbo is very unique and it has its own particular needs. The city called this the Darbo Collaborative. That was important to me because I’ve always said that Darbo needs resources and we need to empower that neighborhood,” Green says. “So this is an effort that says, ‘Yes. We are going to be organic and raise ourselves up and connect with people to come and make this neighborhood what it truly should be.'”
Carts for Community in Worthington Park is hosted through a partnership with Green, Justice Castañeda of Carts for Communities and Brothers Aligned Coalition. “We were put together through the [City of Madison] Emerging Opportunities grant. We got a little money to put on events in Darbo this summer so every Tuesday we are having the Carts for Community in Worthington Park,” Green says.
Every Tuesday you’ll find three different food carts out in Worthington Park and a little mini-party going on.
“We’re using this as a catalyst for people to come on out to the park and get to know what’s going on in the neighborhood and give people information about the new neighborhood update that’s coming out. We want to give people health information, too – information about HPV, cancer, vaccines. We really want to engage people,” Green says.
Building up a sense of community pride and overcoming boundaries have been ongoing challenges and Green wants to someday see a bridge in Darbo-Worthington between many of the low-income people of color in the neighborhood and many of the white homeowners literally just blocks away from Worthington Park. “I want to see this coming together of renters and homeowners. We’re really encouraging people who are not directly in the neighborhood to come on out and see what’s going on directly in Darbo but also give people in Darbo a chance to connect with others across the way,” Green says.
“It’s a great way to get people out and kids out. The food carts always have great food and we do have food coupons for people who might have problems paying for food. So it’s affordable for people. You can get meals for like $5,” Green adds. “It can often be hard to engage neighborhoods in this fashion, but I think the food carts out there make it easier. It really can get people out there and talking and mingling.”
There are also local musical acts at each Carts for Community event. Tonight, DJ Salinger will be spinning a set of hip-hop, reggae, and R&B music.
As the summer goes on, Green says that they will be getting more and more activities for the kids out there at the park on Tuesday night which will hopefully mean more and more people attending the event.
Green says that he is already looking ahead to the third annual Darbo-Worthington Peace Walk and Block Party.
“That’s going to be the 24th of August. We’re already gearing up for that. The Peace Walk, all of the acts, the community coming together. We’ll have our new [Mentoring Positives] pizza out there and everything,” he says. “That’s going to be fun. We’re planning for a big crowd this year.”
In the meantime, Carts for Community in Worthington Park tonight will be a celebration of good food, good music, and good community.
“We’re trying to do this holistically from the east side,” Green says. “We really want to get people out and get to know each other and what a better way to do it than this.”
Three new food carts, music, activities and more will out for Carts for Community in Worthington Park tonight from 5:30-7:30 p.m.