When Kathie Ard’s daughter worried that children in an American Red Cross shelter might miss Halloween this year, she knew exactly what to do.
“We decided to bring Halloween to them!” Ard recalled recently. “My daughter felt so bad that other children’s houses were under water, their vehicles and everything was gone. So we just wanted to make them smile again.”
It only took one Facebook post calling for participants, and within 24-hours, Ard and about 25 Marion County neighbours had donned costumes and draped their car trunks with cobwebs, skeletons and candy for a “Trunk or Treat” outside the shelter near Mullins, South Carolina, for people affected by Hurricane Matthew.
Dashing between the parked cars, arms filled with bags of cotton candy, popcorn, pizza and packets of sweets, seven-year-old Madison Tynch couldn’t stop smiling.
“This is so fun!” she told sister, Grace, as the pair shared a candy bar.
Ursula Murray, whose children were happily sorting their Halloween haul on shelter cots, declared the event “amazing”.
“It is so nice for children in this situation; that people would volunteer to do something like this. And let me put it this way, we have children here who appreciate stuff. They’re very thankful.”
“This is better than the real trick or treat,” agreed Kewaski Bethea, hugging his Halloween candy.
Tiffani Valdivia drove an hour from Dylan, South Carolina, to hand out treats at the shelter with daughter, Miley, who had gathered $59 in donations to purchase the candy.
“Originally, the donated funds were for another charity event cancelled by the hurricane, so it was Miley’s idea to spend it on treats for the kids here instead,” Valdivia explained.
Joy Hardwick said she participated in the “Trunk or Treat” because “I have two kids of my own and I just know how tough it would be for people here. We just wanted to help out.”
Sue Ann Ray and her sister, Angie, and two daughters joined the event because “this disaster has been laying on our hearts, and we want to let these children know they’re loved and not forgotten.”