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North Hills Monthly

NHCO to Host Neighborhood Block Party

Mar 01, 2017 08:26AM ● By Vanessa Orr

Cris Graham and friends enjoying the photo booth Right: Face-painting fun

For the past 30 years, North Hills Community Outreach (NHCO) has been helping its neighbors when times are tough. So it’s no wonder that its signature event, the Neighborhood Block Party, seeks to bring community members together to help raise funds for those who need it most.

“We want people to enjoy an ‘olden day’ block party where everyone in the neighborhood comes together, shares food, and the adults can sit and chat or join in with the kids while they play,” explained  NHCO Executive Assistant Cheryl English of the event, now in its third year. “We’re working to create that community feeling, but considering that our whole service area covers one-third of Allegheny County, it’s a pretty big undertaking!”

The block party will take place on April 27 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and will feature live musical acts, a caricature artist, face painting, a balloon artist, a world-class yo-yo demonstration, and fairy tale princesses mingling with the kids in the crowd. Held at The Chadwick in Wexford, it will also feature five different food stations set up in separate rooms.

“One of the stations will have food that is child-friendly, and of course, we’ll have one that serves dessert—you have to have dessert,” said English. “There will also be games for all ages, a scavenger hunt and a photo booth.”

Money raised at the event will be used to provide emergency services for NHCO’s clients, including help with utility bills, car repairs and housing assistance, among other things. In 2015-16, NHCO helped nearly 4,000 families, including 438 families with utility bills, 225 families with emergency housing assistance, 134 families with vehicle repairs, payments, insurance, gas cards and bus passes and provided 11 uninsured and underinsured individuals with prescription and vision assistance.

NHCO also operates a food pantry and community garden, provides back-to-school supplies, holiday meals and free coats for around 1,200 families, and helps with employment, financial and education assistance. Through its Community Auto program, it also enables low-income families to purchase vehicles.

While the all-inclusive cost of a ticket to the Neighborhood Block Party goes to a good cause, many people attend because the event is just plain fun. 

“We had a great time last year; there were a lot of people there, and so many kids’ activities,” said Monica Gay, who attended with her husband, Bruce, an NHCO board member, and their two daughters. “My oldest daughter loves all of the silent auction items—she kept her eye on those. And I enjoyed mingling with so many different people.

“It’s nice because there aren’t a lot of fundraising opportunities where you can take your kids,” she added. “We make sure that it’s on our family’s Google calendar every year.”

Tickets cost $30 for adults and $15 for children and are partially tax-deductible. Tickets are all-inclusive except for silent auction items. To order, visit and click on the fundraising and events tab, or call NHCO at 412-487-6316.

“We expect about 250 people, and we hope to see that number grow even higher,” said English. “We love that people come back every year, because it’s so fun to watch people run into friends that they haven’t seen for a while. It’s great to watch so many friendships re-blossom.”

Entertainment at the Neighborhood Block party will include:

» Acoustic Diversion
» Singer Katie Zeak
» World-class Yo-Yoist Ky Zizam
» Pittsburgh Princess “fairytale visits”
» Balloon artist Crazy Like a Fox
» Face painters Funny Face Productions  
» Caricatures by Faces by Jack  
» 60-second flash games
» Scavenger hunt
» Photo booth