Fall Fun Fest for Kids

When everything is anything but familiar, Red Cross shelter staff and local community groups went above and beyond to create a sense of normalcy for the children in North Carolina shelters this past weekend. To celebrate the beginning of fall, parties were put together full of arts and crafts, toys, games, and – of course – plenty of candy.

 

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Steve, dressed as a Minion, fills Hello Kitty’s bag with candy and snacks. Photo by Greta Gustafson/American Red Cross

“Kids are going to be kids, no matter what,” said Steve, a Red Cross volunteer, looking out at the parade of princesses and superheroes playing with their new toys.

The shelter manager, Ron – or Superman for the night – was delighted to see children and parents alike forget their troubles for the night. “This is what we are here to do,” said Ron. “Keep things as normal as possible, focus on the good, and keep their minds off the bad.”

 

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A young superhero excitedly opens his new toy at the School Street Early Learning Center in Goldsboro, NC. Photo by Greta Gustafson/American Red Cross

Of course the parents were a little concerned that the sugar content was going to be on the high side after the parties but overall they seemed pleased with the activity. “It has been hard for these kids the last few weeks,” Gloria Hunt said as she watched the kids in costume. “It’s nice to see them having fun in spite of the situation.” Gloria and her family have been residents at the shelter for several weeks.

 

At the shelters in Lumberton, parties began in the afternoon as a “loosely knit” group of community members brought in gobs of candy. Costumes were gathered from in-kind donations earlier in the day. The community group consisted of people from three separate churches. Holly Hunt (no relation to Gloria) was the key organizer for the party at the two shelters in Robeson County.

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Caleb (r) and Aaron all decked out in costume heading back into the Bill Sapp shelter to devour candy. Photo by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

All of the community members, both children and adults glowed with pride at the end of the events as they watched the children frolic.“We know that it has been hard on these kids and we didn’t want them to miss out on this special day.”

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The community group responsible for the fall party posed with costumed children after the party at the Bill Sapp shelter in Lumberton, NC. Photo by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

 

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