A rainy day wouldn’t stop the Halloween fun at NorthShore Health Centers’ 2nd annual Halloween Trunk or Treat bash on Tuesday evening. The event saw over 350 families from all over The Region come to NEO (Neighbors’ Educational Opportunities) Adult Learning Center in Portage in hopes of getting some of the sweet, delicious loot that NorthShore and its many partners had to hand out to the costumed boys and girls- and sometimes even parents- that walked through their doors.
Indeed, Northshore Health Centers and their partners had amassed over 20,000 individual pieces of candy to hand out to the many eager and waiting families on this cold, wet evening. Originally set to be held outside in the NEO Center’s parking lot, inclement weather caused Gervay Dickerson, NorthShore Health Centers’ Lead Event Coordinator and Lead Coordinator for Lake County, to move the event inside the building. Despite the last-minute move, the event drew in so many families that the room they had set up in was packed with children hoping for some candy. Cadets from the Portage High School JROTC program were on hand to help direct attendees to where they needed to go in order to hit every booth in turn. Dickerson felt very strongly that this event served to better the community and provide a fun evening for families.
“I feel like it’s important for the community to have safe, free events that our families can come to and bring our kids,” said Dickerson. “That’s so important.”
In addition to all of the delicious candy that the kids got at the Trunk or Treat, the parents were also treated to exposure to many great services and programs held by NorthShore and their partners, which in addition to NEO Adult Learning Center included a daycare center, Geminus Corporation, The Indiana Tobacco Quitline, and White’s Residential and Family Services, a social services agency.
“Adding the resources is icing on the cake,” said Dickerson. “With NEO, they have an adult education program here. They also have a charter school. You can have a Trunk or Treat, but you can also have resources to know what’s going on in the community because a lot of our families need those resources, or they want them.”
Many of the partners at the event, including NorthShore, were available to help families sign up for services at the event. LaTanya Whitehead, the Resource Family Developer at White’s Residential and Family Services, located in Crown Point, was pleased to get the word out about her organization and give the community information regarding their services.
“[This event] is important for our visibility so number one, the community can see us giving back to them and being a part of the community,” said Whitehead. “But also so they’re aware of the services that my agency provides.”
Whitehead also appreciated the ability of the event to bring together people from all around The Region to not only have a night of fun, but to learn about valuable services and programs that they can take advantage of.
“This is cool, because you have different people from all across the area coming in to one place together,” she said.
The public loved the event, with some families showing up completely decked out in themed costumes the entire family could wear. Stephanie Borgia, who showed up to the event with her family dressed up as unicorns, heard about this year’s event on Facebook, even though she had already attended last year’s.
“I was actually here last year,” said Borgia, “and it was pretty fun so I figured why not bring the kids out again.”
Borgia was also glad to spend time with her family, despite the rain.
“[Events like this] are fun for the kids and they enjoy it, and it’s family time,” she said. “Especially when it’s raining outside, you’re not outside in the rain getting soaking wet and freezing and letting the kids get sick, so we’re inside doing this and having fun!”
The NorthShore Health Center's 2nd Annual Trunk or Treating bash was a massive hit this year, with candy bowls constantly being emptied and re-filled from the massive reserves that were sure to be depleted by the end of the night. For the families of Northwest Indiana, this event and the many others like it that NorthShore and their partners throw every year represents not only a great time for the family, but an opportunity to take advantage of the amazing resources of organizations who care.
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