It may have been cold outside, but there was nothing but warm feelings at the Metro United Way 100th Anniversary Community Celebration last Saturday afternoon at Flaget Field (4425 Greenwood Ave.) in the Chickasaw neighborhood.

The free event celebrated Metro United Way’s 100 years of improving lives so that every individual, child, and family can achieve their full potential.

Hundreds of people, including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, Councilwoman Jessica Green, and Pastor Vincent E. James Sr. of Elim Baptist Church in Parkland and Louisville’s Chief of Community Building joined in the celebration beneath the heated tent.

What would be a community celebration without some good local fare? Attendees indulged in a community meal featuring fried chicken and fish, baked ham, green beans, mac and cheese and cobblers prepared by Sweet Peaches, Angie’s Home Cooking, Franco’s, Big Mommas Soul Kitchen, Fredricks, and Wiltshire Pantry. While they ate, Neo Soul Jazz violinist Maestro J and the AMPED band performed.

Children enjoyed free face painting provided by Bohemian Monkey. Pumpkin painting and free books were available compliments of the Junior League of Louisville. Outside hip-hop radio station B96.5 turned up the heat by encouraging guests to dance to the music their DJs played. Elevate Recreation provided kids with oversized games, like Connect Four, to play along with ginormous soccer and basketballs.

“The Junior League of Louisville was thrilled to participate in the Metro United Way 100th Anniversary Celebration.  Throughout our 97 years, we have partnered many times to address the needs of our community. Most recently through our education focus and supplying books to five Metro United Way Little Libraries in the Russell neighborhood,” says Leigh Anne Burke-Schaad, President, Junior League of Louisville. “Together we are going into our second year on the Little Libraries. It was a natural fit to celebrate this special day with them and supply the community with more books to promote our education initiative and congratulate Metro United Way on 100 years of impact.”


Of course, no birthday party would be complete without a “Happy Birthday” serenade and cupcakes for all. River City Drum Corp did the honors, with a rousing march into the tent.

After welcoming and thanking the crowd, Metro United Way CEO, Theresa Reno-Weber shared video footage of the volunteer effort between Metro United Way and GE Appliances (GEA), a Haier company. The nonprofit and company partnered for a transformative volunteer effort that aimed to complete over 15 major projects during a day of service.

Community partners, neighborhood leaders, residents and more than 600 GEA volunteers partook and worked at nearly 10 nonprofit and community sites from 32nd to 45th streets on Greenwood, a central artery of the Parkland and Chickasaw neighborhoods in Louisville’s West End.

GEA volunteers tackled projects ranging from installing a new gaming station, walls and cabinets at the Parkland Boys & Girls Club; to renovating kitchen space and constructing the new natural playground at Trinity House Excellence Academy Early Learning Center; to landscaping Chickasaw Park and five churches along Greenwood. The street itself will also receive new trash receptacles and welcome banners.

Dave W. Christoper, Executive Director/Founder, AMPED, saw the benefits first-hand of Metro United Way’s Day of Service, as AMPED received much-needed upgrades to the bathrooms and reception space at AMPED.

He was happy and proud to participate in Saturday’s event and have AMPED students perform. “It was a great community event,” he says. “I believe that the West End Community appreciated that local vendors, entertainment, and others from the community were made an integral part of the celebration. I believe that Metro United Way made that a priority. They made it a community celebration that just happened to be on their birthday!”

A Cleveland native turned Louisville resident by way of Chicago, Melanie brings 20 years publishing experience to Louisville Distilled. After graduating from Indiana University Bloomington with degrees in English and Journalism, Melanie has worked as an editor on staffs at national magazines based in Chicago and Los Angeles. She moved to Louisville in 2004 where she launched a successful freelance editing and writing career. Her award-winning articles have appeared in Draft, Chef, The National Culinary Review, Pizza Today, Complete Woman, Louisville Magazine, Business First, Her Scene, Medical News and more. She lives in the East End with her husband, Sean, two children and dog. Passionate about the arts (and an adventurous foodie) Melanie loves eating her way through Louisville’s food scene and supporting the local arts and music scene.


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