CHAMPAIGN, Ill (WCIA) — “It’s a good opportunity for people to make small steps that can turn into big steps,” said Pastor Tim Bossenbroek.
Those big steps have already started. More than 20 organizations have teamed up with a company called, Raw Tools. They gathered at the Randolph Street Community Center Garden in hopes of making a change.
One pastor says events like these give people a glimmer of hope and he wants to see the neighbors rally together.
“I want to see people living healthy long lives. Kids playing in the streets and not worry about some random car driving by and they or their friend getting shot, that’s what I want to see,” says Bossenbroek.
He’s not the only looking to bring change to the community. Mike Martin is in the blacksmithing business and works with Raw Tools. He brought his talents to central Illinois and gave a demonstration on how he turns old gun parts into gardening tools.
“We’re taking something that has harmed communities and gun violence and we’re not just destroying that tool but we’re creating a new tool at the same time that grows food for our local community here to help us live,” said Martin.
People in attendance who had been directly impacted by gun violence got an opportunity to create a garden tool, just one way to connect the community to the solution.
Dawn Blackman, outreach pastor and steward at the garden says one person can start the job, but it takes a community to reach the goal.
“When you add all of the people who are here today and all of the different organizations, I think that we will be able to make the change that we need to see in our society,” said Blackman.
Martin’s call to action came after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting but that’s not all that motivates him.
“My wife is an elementary school teacher and it’s something that galvanized not just us but people around the country to do whatever they think they could be doing to help reduce gun violence,” said Martin.
Other community events include a Community Circle and Peacemaking Training Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There’s a block party Saturday afternoon from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and a Self-Care Community Repair Wellness Fair on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.