Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Raleigh neighborhood holds social distancing block party

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping most people apart, a Raleigh’s historic Oakwood neighborhood is bringing people together.

“What this whole occasion and thing represents to me is people needing people,” said Arlene Sanders, who’s lived in the neighborhood since the 1970s. “I feel blessed I live in this neighborhood. I don’t feel isolated.”

From one end of Oakwood to the other, people came out of their homes, onto their porches and in their front yard for a social distancing block party. Neighbors dubbed it “Howdy Neighbor Night” and felt it could be a way to ease the feeling of isolation and let loose together from afar.

“It sucks staying at home, but ya gotta do it,” one neighbor said.

Some sang songs, played music and danced. Susan Singer said the gathering lifted her spirits. She added, “If you look at my porch, the artwork is my mother’s and I honored her today too, because she was part of The Depression and understood what it’s like to come together as a community.”

Arlene Sanders is a self-proclaimed social butterfly making the best of these uncertain times. She added, “times that test you are the times that let you know how strong a person you are.”

We found one couple dancing to the hit song, “I will Survive.” Before COVID-19 the couple said they spent their weekends ballroom dancing.

They hope Saturday’s’ gathering will be an inspiration and reminder that, “There will be an end to this. We’ll be out dancing again. And we will survive, we will survive.”

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