Hurricane Matthew spoiled last year's event, but never dampened spirits

Nobody is happier to see a sunny weekend than Mary Freeman.

A year ago, Freeman's Rose Care Shop Community Block Party started about the same time the heavens opened up in Fayetteville for Hurricane Matthew. The same thing happened for the inaugural party in 2015.

"It just rained and rained," Freeman said. "So when I saw the forecast for this weekend, I just said, 'Thank you, Jesus!' "

The block party has been an annual tradition along Jasper Street for more than a decade. Freeman, now retired from the Postal Service, has been the anchor for the event, rain or sunshine. For years, Freeman operated a weekend flea market there, but says she was led to start a second-hand shop for the community's needy.

Freeman named it Rose Care Shop Mission Ministry to honor her sister, Rose Best, who had recently died.

“She touched the lives of everyone who met her,” Freeman said. “She loved to help others.”

 This year, Freeman says, the party will include bounce houses, children’s games and health-related displays from community organizations.
 In addition, volunteers are welcome to perform anything from gospel music to dance to bringing an instrument and performing.

"The Holy Spirit provides people with all sorts of talent," Freeman said. "But they have no way to share it. We hope to use this opportunity to bring the gospel of Jesus to our community.

There's no admission charged, but donations are welcome. Freeman will host a clothing giveaway and a big meal of meat and vegetables.

"We have so many people with so little in Fayetteville," she said. "For just one day, I want them not to have to worry about anything."

Including rain.

Freeman's Rose Care Shop Community Block Party will be held at 107 Jasper Street, off Murchison Road, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: or call 482-4100 or 286-3913.

Staff writer Chick Jacobs can be reached at or 486-3515.