COLUMBUS, Ohio — The City of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods hosted their third annual carols on Cleveland event this weekend.
Hundreds of children and families gathered together to celebrate Christmas and community. It’s an event that brings Christmas spirit to the Linden community, a group that is underserved and often misunderstood.
“We want to make sure that all of our families and all of our kiddos in Linden have the things they need for this holiday season. With the pandemic, the last few years have been tough on everybody, but it’s been even tougher for those folks that were struggling prior to the pandemic,” said the City of Columbus Director of Department of Neighborhoods Carla Williams-Scott.
One of the brains behind the operation is a Linden community native herself. She said events like this are imperative for this area.
“I’ve been in the Linden community since I was 3 years old,” said Neighborhood Program Specialist for the City of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods DeLena P. Scales. “I went to Camaco Headstart from right here at Kingryi. So to be able to be in a community where I work, I worship and I play and bring toys here, it means a lot to me because I go to the grocery store and I see these families and we build amazing relationships that result in me connecting them to the resources that they need.”
In 2017, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced the One Linden Plan. It’s a plan that’s meant to revitalize the Linden community. Carols on Cleveland is a part of that revitalization plan.
“The event Carols on Cleveland is one of those things that helps us to build a stronger community. It has residents coming out together and then it allows other community partners to help provide, help to give things that our residents need during this holiday season,” said Williams-Scott.
This event is all about the kids.
“Being a youth today is really hard. And we often ask our kids not to be grown, not to steal cars, not to be involved in violent crimes. But then when it comes to Christmas, we isolate them. So this is a really important time for the community,” said Scales.
From bags of toys to hot meals and caroling, the Linden community is feeling ready for the holiday season.
“Being able to provide Christmas food, holiday photos and ornaments in a safe space in a neighborhood… in walking distance is really important to a community like this,” said Scales.