25 non-profits participate in Get Downtown

Twenty-five non-profit organizations participated in Get Downtown, an annual street festival in Downtown Lynchburg featuring musicians, vendors and street performers Friday, Sept. 8.

Non-profit booths and tents dotted the road on Main Street, giving citizens of Lynchburg opportunities to ask questions, donate and discover what the organizations were all about.

Among the non-profits, Jars of Hope, the Lynchburg Historical Foundation and Humankind held booths to advertise their organizations.

Candlelight Church Ministries, a non-profit based in Concord, Virginia was one of the 25 organizations that utilized Get Downtown to further its cause. Candlelight Church Ministries aims toward serving senior citizens with food and church services. It partners with Feeding America to serve nearly 1,000 people in the Lynchburg, Altivista and Appomattox senior living homes.

Friday was the first time Candlelight Church Ministries participated in Get Downtown — Courtesy of Cheryl Randall

According to Candlelight Church Ministries Organizer Cheryl Randall, Get Downtown helped non-profit organizations like her own spread their brand and advertise their cause.

“We were able to make connections with people in Lynchburg and Campbell County and tell them what we do,” Randall said. “Most of them had never heard of us. They were surprised to hear that we do as much as we do.”

To transport food, Candlelight Church Ministries uses a large red trailer, a piece of automotive easily recognized when driving.

“A lot of people tell me they see our trailer,” Randall said. “But they say they never know what we do. One of our goals with (Get Downtown) was we wanted people to know who we were.”

Among the 25 organizations, the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center participated with its own booth. The non-profit specializes in counseling and assisting pregnant women with everything pertinent to their pregnancy.

The Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center raises awareness — Courtesy of Katie Copeland

According to Jennifer Snellings, the executive director of the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center, Get Downtown was a fun social event that helped the organization raise awareness for its cause.

“Our goal is to help women who are in a crisis pregnancy situation,” Snellings said. “Our goal is for them to choose life for their babies. But even if they don’t, we offer post-abortion counselling.”

Despite serving women with unwanted pregnancies, the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center wanted all who approached its booth Friday to understand that each client’s first and foremost need is Jesus Christ.

According to Snellings, participating in Get Downtown helped showcase the importance of non-profits and expose the purpose behind the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center.

“Get Downtown was a great way to get visible,” Snellings said. “It was very lively, and it was a family kind of event.”

Lasting from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., hundreds of people joined Get Downtown, filling the street.

“I would definitely participate again,” Randall said.

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