On July 16th, Sunshine Gospel Ministries was honored to participate in the Second Annual Soulful Chicago Book Fair! The Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce headed by Carlas Gilbert hosted the first Woodlawn Food Truck Festival in conjunction with the event. Six blocks along 61st St. were filled with food, music, collaboration, and many black authors having the opportunity to showcase their work.
“The idea for the Soulful Chicago Book Fair was birthed in Greenline Coffee by a group of neighbors that met regularly,” shared founder Asadah Kirkland. Asadah is a regular at the coffee shop and meets with other neighbors to support and collaborate around these ideas. Knowing the importance of promoting literacy in the community, the idea took form and she began forging relationships with many local black authors. In 2016 the Soulful Chicago Book Fair took place in front of the Sunshine Gospel Ministries’ buildings.
“I intentionally bring the book fair to Woodlawn [in front of Sunshine] because I want to show the neighborhood they are valued and make books/literacy accessible to them,” Asadah affirmed. A float kicked off the event with elders from the community riding in prominence on top. Over 25 local authors were represented, ranging from age 6 all the way to age 80. The book fair also had workshops and musical performances throughout the day.
Woodlawn resident Carlas Gilbert headed the effort to bring the first Food Truck Festival to the community. “It was a perfect fit to pair the Food Truck Festival with the book fair! Although some vendors were a bit hesitant, not knowing how profitable the event would be, we are happy to say that 5 out of the 7 trucks actually sold out of their food! Woodlawn really came out and represented!”
Sunshine Gospel Ministries was honored to be part of a positive event in the community, offering our space for the workshops as well as Greenline Coffee running a booth selling smoothies and cold drinks. Bringing events, programs, businesses, and opportunities into Woodlawn further demonstrates the inherent value of this community.