The city of La Vergne is holding a National Night Out event Tuesday, Aug. 7, at Veterans Memorial Park as part of a nationwide effort to take a stand against crime.
Rutherford County residents compete in a game of tug-of-war Aug. 2, 2011, at Veterans Memorial Park in La Vergne. (Photo submitted)
The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and last until 8:30 p.m. at the park, located at 115 Floyd Mayfield Drive in La Vergne.
The annual event is held in communities across the United States and is designed to encourage residents to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners.
This year, the city is also reaching out to help those less fortunate. Information tables and collection areas will be set up for donations of school supplies and nonperishable food items.
The local food bank is experiencing a shortage in basic items.
"There are a lot of food drives during the holidays, and we distribute this food throughout the year," said Barbara Hale, director of the Smyrna-La Vergne Food Bank. "But, when it comes to August and September, we get critically low.
Hale said the families that receive assistance need basic food items.
"All nonperishable items are welcome, including canned corn, green beans, peas, mixed vegetables, peanut butter and pasta," she said.
La Vergne Police Chief Mike Walker will be accepting school supplies for La Vergne teachers and students, as well.
"We are finding that teachers are buying a lot of supplies for the homeless and other needy children in our city," Walker said. "We want every child to be able to start the school year on equal footing with other students without having to be embarrassed about borrowing crayons or paper."
Information will also be available about TN-ZERO, an anti-crime organization that focuses on synthetic drugs, human trafficking and gang awareness.
Visitors may also meet with local police officers and the members of the SWAT team, Box 100, Rescue Squad, and Fire Department.
"We will also have our D.A.R.E. And G.R.E.A.T. officers there, as well as our new Safe Routes to School Specialist to discuss safe travel to and from school for our children," Walker said. "These officers will be available to educate school-aged children about issues ranging from bicycle safety to gang resistance."
La Vergne Mayor Senna Mosley said National Night Out is important for the community because it gives attendees the chance to meet with law enforcement officials on a one-on-one basis.
"I am extremely proud of our law enforcement personnel," Mosley said. "Not only has their work reduced crime in our city, but our police are also available to answer questions about setting up a neighborhood watch, about stranger danger, and about protecting your property.
By attending the annual event, Mosley said Rutherford County residents would have the opportunity to learn more about the people who work in law enforcement.
"Get to know the men and women who courageously serve our city every single day of the year," she said.