The inaugural Winter Community Event held on January 20th, 2024, at North Phoebus Community Center exceeded all expectations, marking it as a resounding success. Plans are already in motion for next year, and we attribute the success of this event to the divine guidance that has ordered our steps throughout the entire process.

It's noteworthy to mention that Malon’s Project, as a newly formed organization, and its Executive staff—JoAnne Cramatie (Executive Director), Martez Gurley (Director of Operations), and myself, Wanda Williams (Director of Sales)—had no prior experience in orchestrating such an event.

First and foremost, our heartfelt gratitude goes to the City of Hampton Youth and Young Adult Opportunities for granting us our inaugural grant, providing the financial means to bring this event to fruition. They also provided a dozen Youth and Young Adult Opportunities backpacks, lanyards, and USB ports. Special acknowledgment is also extended to Director, Larry Vaughn of North Phoebus Community Center for generously allowing us to utilize their gymnasium.

We extend our appreciation to the vendors: Mental Health Resolutions, Cora’s Visions, (who donated shoes to every VIP, pre-registered guests), S.T.O.R.M., Inc., Damien Mann of Direct Auto (who donated a lap to our lucky drawing winner, Lolene Burist), Real Solutions, Inc., Inner-City Innovations, LP Solutions, and Helping Hand/Mobile Way Barber Shop (who provided free haircuts to three male VIP guests who pre-registered), all vendors contributed six pre-filled backpacks. Additional support in the form of school supplies and backpacks was graciously provided by Ketchmore Kids and Aqua Right, with monetary donations from Mr. R. W. Harris and Mr. & Mrs. Nathaniel Flood.

A significant role was played by our Value-Peers (volunteers), including Sisters Circle of Norfolk State University, the ladies of Eastern Star, and Malon’s Project Value-Peers.

Recognition is due to the City of Hampton Chief of Police, Jimmie Wideman and his officers, City of Hampton Fire and Rescue, and Sgt. Patches from Ft. Monroe Park Service, who left a lasting impression on both children and adults alike.

Special thanks go to Costco for their in-store donations that enabled us to purchase food for the event, and to Wright Print, Inc. for creating our very comfortable and warm sweatshirts.

Appreciation is extended to radio stations AM 1400 WPCE, Whalen McDew and FM 88.1 WHOV, Jay Lange, Naim Bey with Rules for Successful Living, and Aqua Right, who offered a 25% donation for every filtering unit sold in honor of Malon's Project.

Most importantly, this event wouldn't have been possible or successful without the participation of parents and children who received not only backpacks filled with supplies but also experienced a warm and loving atmosphere, assuring them of the support and love from the Hampton community. We served 43 children; we are hopeful that these children will be equipped to complete the 23-24 school year successfully.

As we look forward, Malon’s Project Winter Community Event is set to become an annual tradition on the second Saturday in January, promising even greater success in the years to come. A sincere thank you to everyone involved—we are truly humbled by the overwhelming support that shaped the preparation and execution of this impactful event.

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