Neighborhoods across Omaha held block parties Tuesday night to celebrate National Night Out.
The event is held annually to bring together neighbors and to promote crime prevention. The neighborhoods offered food, live music and entertainment.
Pastors Pat and Bruce Williams helped organize a party in an apartment parking lot near 44th and Redman Avenues. Volunteers served free food and children jumped in two bounce houses.
Pat Williams said getting to know her neighbors in north Omaha is important, but it's not an easy task.
“This has been a disjointed community for a long time,” she said. “National Night Out gives us an opportunity to make an effort to get to know each other.”
Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer stopped at several of the block parties, as did uniformed patrol officers.
Stothert said in north Omaha that National Night Out is a great example of what neighborhoods can do when they come together. Bruce Williams agreed, and he was delighted that Stothert and Schmaderer showed up.
“National Night Out is all about letting neighbors know no matter what background you come from, there are people in your community that want to help you without judgment,” said Bruce Williams, a pastor at Hope of Glory Church.
Judith Moreno, 30, went to Metropolitan Community Church, 819 S. 22nd St., with her children and extended family.
They laughed together while eating at a picnic table on the church lawn. The kids gulped down hot dogs and ice cream quickly so they could go jump in a bounce house.
“The kids have a good time here,” Moreno said in Spanish through a translator, “and being together makes us feel closer as a family.”