On Wednesday, a wiggly busload of pint-sized angels, ladybugs, superheroes, pirates, fairies and firefighters filed through the front doors at OMRF. Their mission? To rake in Halloween treats, play some games and have a spooky good time.
For the 12th consecutive year, OMRF hosted a Halloween event for nearly 70 trick-or-treaters from Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma City’s only elementary school and social service agency specifically serving children and families experiencing homelessness.
“Our students look forward to visiting OMRF every year and filling their buckets full of treats,” said Rachel Durham, Development Officer at Positive Tomorrows. “When people thinking about homelessness, it’s easy to forget how many children experience it. By bringing this joy to our kiddos, the staff at OMRF send a reminder that they have not forgotten about our kids. While it’s such a fun day, it’s also a hope-builder for our little ones.”
To prepare for their young visitors, OMRF administrative staff adorned offices and hallways with spider webs and scary movie-worthy décor. Then they dimmed the lights, turned on eerie music and waited, ready to distribute heaping bowls of candy and small toys. Some employees donned Halloween costumes themselves as they passed out treats to the tiny trick-or-treaters parading door-to-door through the halls.
“We’re always as excited as the kids are for this day,” said OMRF Vice President of Human Resources Courtney Stevens Greenwood. “When you see the accounting and IT departments turned into haunted houses and our employees wearing crazy hats and grinning ear-to-ear as they hand out candy, you know you’re a part of something special. The Positive Tomorrows visit is one we look forward to every year. It’s not just good for the kids; it’s good for us, too.”
Outfitted in costumes created by students at Oklahoma City University’s Ann Lacy School of Dance and Arts Management, the children were treated to snacks in the OMRF cafeteria to go with the bags of sweet loot they’d gathered in the halls.
Homelessness is a significant problem in Oklahoma, said Durham, with more than 44,000 homeless children in the state. The school takes a three-step approach to addressing the problem by focusing on education, providing family support, and removing barriers such as transportation, hunger and basic needs.