Yam Jam brings community fun, break from violence to Portia Hines Park

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Portia Hines Park brought Wilmington residents of all ages out for the Yam Jam Saturday.

The event was sponsored by a number of local organizations including the Blue Ribbon Commission and the local food bank.

Organizers said that 17 thousand yams were brought in for the event, and that all of them were going to be given away for free.  They said it was an effort to put on a peaceful event in response to to recent outbursts of crime.

"The purpose is really to have a safe and family friendly event out here at Portia Hines Park," said Jana Jones Halls of the Blue Ribbon Commission.  "It's also to provide all of this wonderful produce to the residents and community members around the north side of downtown."

The event also featured numerous information booths from local organizations like the Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover County Health Department.

Ben David, the district attorney, stopped by the Yam Jam to partake in some of the community fun.  He said that a few years ago, the park was surrounded by dangerous activity.

"I've personally been to about four different murder scenes immediately surrounding this park," said David.  "It's such a better thing to see kids playing in it rather than going to a crime scene, and that's what this is all about."

Halls said that the Blue Ribbon Commission hopes to host more events in Portia Hines Park in the future.

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