DURHAM — Organizers of the first East Durham Community Cookout hoped fried fish, hot dogs, hamburgers and other free food would attract residents to talk about the area and show that others care about the neighborhood.
At least 60 people came and went from Saturday's event, organized by businesses and churches along Angier Avenue and held in the parking lot of Angier Avenue Baptist Church. Such showings remind others that East Durham, an area plagued with crime, gangs, prostitutes and drugs in recent years, is not a forgotten place, said co-organizer Gail Whitfield.
"So that the people in the community will realize that there are folk that care about their well-being, that are concerned about the conditions in the community," she said.
Saturday's gathering was something that Lucille Tillman, 79, hopes will help change the area back to when it was a safer place to live.
"It shows love, to bring love back amongst the people," said Tillman, who has lived in East Durham for 25 years. "To show that we care about each other and try to bring it back to what it used to be."