NEWARK–Halloween retailer Spirit Halloween brought the fun and excitement of this upcoming holiday to young patients at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ) at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
The party was part of the retailer’s “Spirit of Children” program and featured a visit from the Power Rangers, to the delight of young patients. Launched in 2006, the Spirit of Children program brings Halloween celebrations to hospitals for kids who would otherwise not be able to experience Halloween at home.
Volunteer Spirit employees provided CHoNJ patients with a Halloween celebration complete with costumes and décor in addition to activities such as pumpkin painting, costume parades and Halloween games.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our hospitalized patients to experience a traditional Halloween celebration with crafts and treats,” says Anne Reilly, Director of Child Life at CHoNJ. “We are grateful to Spirit Halloween for their generous donation of time and resources.”
CHoNJ received $71,400 from Spirit of Children last year, which was used to fund a massage therapist, the Swank Movie Channel, which is a bilingual movie station that is seen in the Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Pediatric ER, Pediatric Same Day Surgery, A5, C5 units, and Behavioral Health for pediatric patients. The Medical Center was also able to hire a weekend Child Life Specialist. This is a first for CHoNJ as it was able to expand the program from five days a week to seven days. Since March of 2012, the weekend specialist has seen close to 2,000 children.
“Donations from Spirit of Halloween have made a huge difference for our children each year,” says John A. Brennan, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and CHoNJ. “They greatly enhance the environment for our young patients.”
Spirit of Children helps make hospitals less scary for kids and their families by providing fun during Halloween and funding all year long to Child Life Departments within children’s hospitals. Last year Spirit of Halloween collected $2.3 million in cash and merchandise donations for more than 100 children’s hospitals in the United States and Canada.
Spirit of Children visiting staff, the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey Child Life Department, and the Power Rangers (Photo courtesy of CHoNJ)