Despite limitations in place due to the pandemic, St. Vincent de Paul provided nearly 500 families a week-long Halloween celebration. The last week of October, as families circulated through the charity Family Dining Room drive-through to pick up dinner, they were welcomed with a new themed celebration and gifts for the whole family to enjoy.
The daily festivities included giveaways ranging from toys to candy and decorations, themed goody bags, music, and movies playing in the background on select nights. SVdP volunteers distributed the gifts in the car line and contributed to the Halloween spirit by dressing up according to each theme, whether it was spooky night, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” or Dia de los Muertos. Kids were given the opportunity to momentarily hop out of the car and safely enjoy a pumpkin patch next to the drive-through, thanks to a donation of 150 pumpkins from Bashas’.
“The entire week was such an exciting time for the families we serve, but also for St. Vincent de Paul staff,” says Cindy Bernardo, who manages the family drive-through. “There is no better feeling than seeing a smile light up on a child’s face, and we feel fortunate to have been able to provide that to so many families who have been facing particularly difficult circumstances this year. None of this would have been possible without the community’s support and for that we are grateful.”
The festivities culminated on Fr., Oct. 30, with a Dia de los Muertos celebration. There was a 15-foot-tall traditional Mexican Catrina doll sculpture made by volunteer Randy Voigt and his daughters, an altar for SVdP families to place pictures of loved ones that have passed, and a performance by Mariachis Pasion, an all-female Mariachi group.
In addition to the activities that took place during the family evening meal drive-through, SVdP provided children with free Halloween costumes donated by the community.
PHOTOS COURTESY ST. VINCENT DE PAUL