Thousands of youngsters were out on a sunny Thursday afternoon for CHI Health St. Francis’ second annual Trunk-or-Treat Halloween event in front of the Burlington store at Northwest Commons in Grand Island.
Along with all the various participating departments at the hospital, Northwest Commons and other businesses were at the event. Before festivities began at 4 p.m., there was a long line of kids in their Halloween costumes eagerly anticipating the fun and candy. Once the event got underway, the kids went from vehicle to vehicle to get their treats. The participants were also dressed in Halloween costumes as they handed out treats from the decorated trunks of their vehicles. There were about 25 trunks full of Halloween hobgoblery and treats for the kids.
According to Melissa Griffith, director of the CHI Health St. Francis Foundation, the event promotes a fun time. It also provides families a safe place for their children to trick or treat.
Griffith said about 3,000 Halloweeners came out for the event.
Both CHI Health St. Francis and Burlington sponsored the event.
“It’s a way for both Burlington and CHI Health St. Francis to give back to the community,” Griffith said. “We wanted to have a safe area for kids to trick or treat.”
She said the No. 1 accident that happens to youngsters during Halloween is being hit by a car.
“Just to keep them safe, we have organized this event, along with local businesses that like to give back to the community as well,” Griffith said. “It is just a great way to have kids come and be safe during trick or treating.”
As an incentive, she said, prizes were awarded for the best trunks decorated in the spirit of Halloween. There was a prize for the hospital participants and another for community participants.
“It is a family event, and we want everybody to have a great time,” Griffith said.
The hospital had The Incredibles family and Batwoman at the event, along with Kyle Piotrowski of Grand Island Public Schools’ Project Search. Piotrowski was in costume as a chipmunk. He is also a mascot for the hospital’s Child’s Safety Department.
“I’m just walking around and making sure everybody is having a good time,” Piotrowski said. “It felt really good to volunteer and participate in the community.”
As a mascot for child safety, his message for the younger kids was “be careful and don’t do anything foolish.”
Project Search is based at the hospital. The program teaches students essential life skills and how to get jobs after graduation.
Jake Scheideler, manager of Burlington, said working with CHI Health St. Francis has been a good partnership.
“Burlington is a caring company,” Scheideler said. “This event is about having fun and promoting safety at the same time.”
Debb Niles, an emergency room nurse, was among those helping to organize the event.
“This is a group effort by a lot of people,” Niles said. “It is just a great way to provide a safe environment for kids to come out and have fun.
“Part of our vision at CHI Health St. Francis is to help create safer and healthier communities. This is just a small piece that we can contribute to help make sure the kids in our community stay safe.”