Sunday, June 3, 2012

NNO Frequently Asked Questions

If you're new to National Night Out or simply want to check your facts, the following Q-and-As should be helpful.

If you have a question that isn't added here, please post it in the comments so that everyone can benefit from the answer.

Question: Who can participate in National Night Out?
Answer: NNO is open to any neighborhood, community group, organization, or business. The celebration is traditionally organized by Neighborhood Watch organizations, but we welcome all participation.

Question: What do I have to do to participate in National Night Out?
Answer: Just register your event with the City so that we can help you with logistics (such as street closures) and provide you NNO items and guests. There is no fee.

Question: What do most people do for National Night Out?
Answer: Your event can be as simple or complex as you make it. Some neighborhoods do a cook out or pot luck. Others have live entertainment, competitions, and games. If there's a pool in your community, you may want to have a pool party. The goal is to have fun and get everyone out together.

Question: What are some ideas for a first-time National Night Out coordinator or site, or one that's getting a late start?
Answer: If your neighborhood doesn't yet have an established Neighborhood Watch, National Night Out would be a good time to have a police officer stop in to talk about the benefits of starting one. You could also pick a topic of interest to your neighborhood (bike safety, home safety, summer safety, etc) and have a police officer speak about that topic to you and your neighbors. You could also schedule your HOA meeting for this night and pull double duty.

Question: When can we begin our National Night Out event?
Answer: The official, national timeframe for NNO is 7pm to 10pm, but you are welcome to begin your celebration at any time. Tailor the day/night to best accommodate your community.

Important: A late start (after 7pm) may deter your neighbors because they will have already settled into other activities. Also note that we cannot guarantee that City officials and guests will be available for events during the day, though we will try to work with you.

Question: What resources does the City provide?
Answer: We will provide NNO-themed items for each registered event. The national NNO website has lots of great freebies like invitation templates, a volunteer sign-up sheet, and kids' activity sheets that you can print out on your own.

Question: What is Project 365?
Answer: Project 365 is how cities keep the spirit of NNO alive during the year. For Sanford, we will work with the Christians' United Outreach Center this year to reduce hunger in our area. We believe that a food-secure community is a safer one.

Question: What items should be donated?
Answer: The CUOC needs any type of non-perishable food item. Examples include: boxed macaroni and cheese, rice, pasta, pasta sauce, bags of pinto beans, cans of black beans, jelly, peanut butter, canned vegetables, canned soups, canned tuna and meats, boxes of mashed potatoes, canned pasta, etc.

Question: Do we have to participate in Project 365?
Answer: No, no one is locked into the project. However, we do hope that you'll promote Project 365 when planning and promoting your event. We will work with site coordinators to get all donations to the CUOC to make participation easier.

Question: Can we choose a different or additional goal for our event?
Answer: Absolutely. In the past, neighbors have brought school supplies to share with the families at their event. We encourage coordinators to use NNO to meet the needs of their neighborhoods. However, we'd love each site to accept any donated non-perishable foot items, as well.

Question: Who can we contact if we have questions or problems?
Answer: The City's Public Information Officer, Kelly Quinones Miller, is managing this year's event for Sanford. Her contact information is 919-774-1133 or If you are in the county and want to participate, you can contact the Lee County Sheriff's Department at 919-775-5531.

Click here to register for 2013 National Night Out.

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