Grande Prairie’s first Trunk-or-Treat fundraiser is set to kick off on Saturday afternoon. Event organizer, Beverly McCool, says the idea to launch a fundraiser was inspired by a fundraising project assigned to her daughter’s grade seven class at Ecole St. Gerard.
“Their Social project this year is fundraising for My Hero Harper— Harper Hanki, a little toddler from Spruce Grove who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 1 which is fatal in all cases,” she says. “They were fundraising $2.8 million for a gene therapy treatment that could possibly cure it, extend her life, help with research, and getting this treatment for other kids.”
McCool came up with the “Trunk-or-Treat” idea based on a similar style church custom in the United States, where vehicles are decorated and kids can trick-or-treat in a safe, controlled environment as opposed to running around in the street after dark.
“They’re not going to unknown people’s homes, they’re not crossing dark streets at night, [and] now with COVID-19 there [will be] ample hand sanitizer provided,” she says.
The fundraiser recently shifted gears, however, after McCool received a notification from Harper’s mother that the family had been awarded, through the Zolgensma lottery, treatment for Harper free of charge.
McCool adds her fundraiser is now making donations to My LuvPak Grande Prairie, an organization she says she strongly supports.
“It’s helping the ones who are the ones who are the most helpless and making sure that kids feel loved and that someone out there cares about them. They provide backpacks with personal care items, comfort items, stuff for kids experiencing homelessness, poverty and also going into care with the foster care system.”
“When children go into emergency foster care, they frequently leave their homes without anything, or if they have, some of their clothing might be in a garbage bag or a grocery bag,” she says.
The Trunk-or-Treat Fundraiser is scheduled for October 31st at the Army, Navy, Air Force Community Centre, starting at 1 p.m. Tickets per person are $10 and are required to be purchased in advance. Participants attending will follow a 1-way route to collect Halloween goodies. Cash donations, bags of bottles, and new items for LuvPaks will be accepted on location.