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Hospital welcomes youngsters to annual Halloween event

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Ghosts, goblins, superheroes and fairy tale characters showed up at Henry Medical Center (HMC) in Stockbridge, for the fifth annual Halloween Trunk-or-Treat gathering.

Organizers of the event estimated that 200 children were on hand. The Halloween festivities were hosted by HMC and held Thursday in the parking lot of the hospital's Foundation Center.

Some said the Trunk-or-Treat is a safe alternative to traditional trick-or-treating. Others said the event is a way to meet new people.

One of those doling out sweets, from the back of a three-wheeled motorcycle, was Berena Jenkins, a nurse at Laurel Park at Henry Medical Center, and a member of Liberty Hill Baptist Church in Hampton.

She and her husband, Michael, are members of Faith Riders, an outreach ministry of the church.

Berena Jenkins said participating in the Trunk-or-Treat at the hospital each year is a way of ministering to others in the community.

"This is our second year," she said. "Last year we had a blast, and we decided to come back. It's such a blessing to see people smile, and be happy. That's what it's all about."

An organized Trunk-or-Treat event is an effective way to make contacts with the general public, said Michael Jenkins, a chaplain for Faith Riders.

"In the community, you can see more people here, than what you can [going] door-to-door," he said.

Employees with the hospital, and nearby medical facilities, as well as others in the community, lined up their vehicles in the designated area. They adorned them with spooky Halloween decorations, including Frankenstein heads, talking heads inside crystal balls, pumpkins, and jack-o-lanterns. As the children passed by, the adults stood behind the vehicles, distributing candy from the trunks.

HMC employee, Julie McGuire, who works in the hospital's operating room (OR), was stationed at the open trunk of her vehicle, greeting children and giving out candy. McGuire, a certified OR technician, was there with other employees of the hospital's OR department.

"This is a safe environment," she said. "We did it last year and the year before. We do it as a group. Last year, there were just the two of us, but we ... try to come and bring our children. They all have a good time."

McGuire brought her 12-year-old son, Chance, to the event.

Cynthia Wimberly, an emergency technician for HMC, organizes the Trunk-or-Treat each year.

This year, adults who were unable to participate, had the opportunity to drop bags of candy in a specially marked box placed by the Emergency Triage desk. Wimberly brought her own candy as well, to be distributed during the event.

"With the donations to the hospital, I would say I had at least 40 pounds of candy," she said.

Wimberly, whose 8-year-old grandson, Mason Jordan, took part this year, said she organizes the event to give children a safe place to collect candy at Halloween.

"You can't go door-to-door anymore, it's not safe," she added. "You're pretty safe on hospital grounds."