The first Haven’s Halloween Howl was so nice, the Children’s Haven Child Crisis Centre is doing it twice.
The inaugural Halloween Howl raised more than $22,000 for the Haven in 2022. Organizers said the event was so popular they’re bringing it back in 2023.
“In the past we’ve had a chili cook-off and a radio marathon, but really nothing like a dance or event like this,” Children’s Haven program director Amanda Robertson said.
“(It’s) something fun for couples and groups to go out and have fun with, and still a way of raising money. That’s why we thought we’d try it and last year it was a huge success … so we decided to just keep going with it.”
The event includes live music and dancing. The goal is to raise money so the Haven can replace their furnaces, something Robertson said is long overdue. The cost is estimated at around $24,000.
Robertson said they appreciate the financial support, especially given how many residents were hit hard by cost of living increases.
“We just want to help the community in any way possible, and it is getting tougher and tougher these days to help just due to cost of living,” she explained. “Sometimes maybe donations don’t come in, but I understand how it’s getting really hard to manage just all around as a community.”
The Children’s Haven is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and provides services to youth up to age 12. Robertson said their demand for services dropped off significantly during COVID, when health protocols limited the number of children they could have in the building.
Since then, they’ve returned to their pre-COVID numbers, when between 4,800 and 5,500 children visited the Haven every year.
Robertson said the biggest need comes from parents who face temporary health problems and cannot rely on family or friends to take care of their children. Sometimes that’s because their family is away, or unable to offer care because of their own health problems. Other times, some parents feel their family members are not safe for their children to be around.
Other times, children visit the centre because a sibling is experiencing severe health problems, and that’s taking up all the parents’ time.
Regardless, Robertson said they are ready to open their doors for children in need at any time.
“We help sometimes just for the day, or for a week, or maybe their sibling is in the hospital for a month,” she said. “We can help out every day for them, or if the parent needs them to stay over we can help with that.”
The 2023 Haven’s Halloween Howl runs from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre on Saturday, Oct. 28. Tickets are available for $30 at the door, or for $25 at Canadian Tire or Harold’s Family Foods.
Attendees must be 19 or older.