Thermal Belt Friendship Council celebrates 26 years

Published 8:02 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Community picnic Saturday, June 2
The Thermal Belt Friendship Council turned 26 this year, and the organization will celebrate its history at the annual community picnic Saturday, June 2, 4 – 7 p.m. at the cabin located at Harmon Field. The public is invited to the festivities that start at 4 p.m. Individuals attending the event are asked to bring a food item that will feed at least seven people.
The organization’s mission for the last 26 years has been “To recognize our common attributes, value our cultures, and bridge racial, ethnic, and other differences.” The Friendship Council, as it is commonly called, offers networking opportunities for individuals of various backgrounds. Members have described the organization as going beyond diversity to embrace inclusiveness. As such, the membership reaches out to individuals of all ethnic, racial, and age groups, as well as individuals with physical or mental challenges.
This year’s community picnic will focus on the theme “We Are One,” emphasizing the history of the Friendship Council as the major uniting tie for its members.
The organization was created in 1986 as a way to protest a planned Klan’s march in Tryon. Members of the community banded together in unity to show that blacks and whites can come together as one. From the early days of meetings, planning and networking, potluck dinners sprang up in members’ homes. The year ended with the first community picnic in 1986.
Today, the Friendship Council’s outreach strategies include supporting local businesses through monthly luncheons at local restaurants, attending events at the Tryon Fine Arts Center and Rogers Park and attending showings of movies that promote racial and social dialogue at the Tryon Theatre. For example, members recently attended the Tryon Theatre’s showing of “Red Tails.”
The group encourages members of the community to support events that promote better understanding among citizens throughout the Thermal Belt.
This year’s picnic will also be the starting point for sponsoring several community outreach projects. A Community Resource Fair will be held Saturday, June 16, at 10 a.m., at Roseland Community Center (Tryon). The event is sponsored by the Friendship Council, Polk Fit, Fresh & Friendly, Roseland Community Center and the Eastside Citizens Advisory Committee. The event is also sponsored by St. Luke’s Hospital and Bi-Lo, Inc. A number of community service providers will sponsor resource tables, and selected providers will offer a short presentation about services available to local residents.
The public is invited to all activities sponsored by the Thermal Belt Friendship Council, and there is never a charge for any of the organization’s events.
For more information, visit
– article submitted
by Joseph Fox

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