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Groups use Halloween for service

Joe Hettler | Friday, October 31, 2003

For many campus organizations, Halloween isn’t just a time for ghosts and goblins – it’s also a time to help others.

Different groups and dorms have been planning activities for today’s holiday in an effort to raise money and donatr their time to children and the less fortunate.

Irish Fighting for St. Jude Kids sponsored a Halloween costume party in the LaFortune Ballroom Thursday night, said Kim Simko, executive director of the club, which is in its second year of existence. The club’s goal is to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Nashville Tenn., which cares for children with life-threatening illness, such as cancer or HIV.

“What we do is have all club members write designated letters to family members and friends, or to anyone they know,” Simko said. “They fill out the letter [at the party], address it to the person they want to send it to and ask for a donation for the hospital.”

Simko said the club provided refreshments at the party and anyone on campus was welcome to attend. The club hoped those who attended the party would contribute a small donation.

“Whoever comes that isn’t a club member can just come and have a good time,” Simko said. “If anyone donates a dollar to our cans, it goes straight to the hospital.”

The club will also hold a T-shirt sale today, the proceeds of which will go to the hospital.

Last year was the first year for the organization, but it still managed to raise about $10,000. With more members and better information this year, Simko and her fellow executive directors have set a much higher goal for events.

“We’re hoping to at least triple that because we have so many people participating this year,” Simko said. “Already, with all the donations we’ve gotten, we’re over $6,000.”

Simko said she expected about 60 club members to attend the party, in addition to other participants.

For Keenan, last night was a chance to help out kids from the Boys and Girls Club of South Bend with their annual Keenan Great Pumpkin event.

Keenan president Matt Kinsella helped organize the activity, which brought over 80 children from the community center onto campus for a few hours early last evening.

“We bring in kids and take them trick-or-treating throughout all the other dorms, and we have a haunted house for them in the basement, and then we have pumpkin-carving outside later,” Kinsella said.

The Great Pumpkin has been the longest-running dorm activity for Keenan and incorporates students from all the other dorms on campus.

“The kids love it,” Kinsella said. “The older kids might even love it more than the little ones.”