Senior Bailey McGuffey is reaching out to the community for help with her capstone project. McGuffey will be holding a Halloween costume drive, which involves collecting new and gently used costumes of all sizes to distribute to underprivileged children at the Lord’s Diner.
Last year, when McGuffey was volunteering at her weekly Wednesday night shift at the Lord’s Diner, she was asked to help hand out costumes that had been donated from a few local parishes. Since there was a limited amount, she was instructed to only distribute costumes to guests who came in on a regular basis.
About halfway through her shift, McGuffey had only three costumes left to give, and recognized a mother of three young girls who were regular guests at the Lord’s Diner. McGuffey took the girls to the back to try on costumes, and upon returning them to their mother at their table, the mother was crying at the sight of how happy her girls were.
“The youngest girl gave me a huge hug and then kissed me on the cheek before going to sit down,” McGuffey said. “The mother then told me that she was under so much stress due to Halloween because they only had $20 to last them the rest of month, and the girls still needed costumes.” The mother thanked her, and that night when McGuffey went home, she realized that this experience could help to shape her senior capstone project.
McGuffey said that she saw how handing out costumes had a huge impact on families, and wanted to affect even more people in the future. “In a way I guess I took it for granted how important it is for kids to be able to dress up for Halloween,” McGuffey said. “Some people are not able to experience the joys of trick-or-treating due to their family’s financial status at the time.”
Starting on Monday, Sept. 26, bins for costume collection will be placed around the campus of Newman University as well as at Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School and Cheney High School. The drive will continue until Friday, Oct. 21. Bishop Carroll Catholic High School will also be participating, however the drive will be held Oct. 18-19.
In addition to collection bins, there will also be a “Drive-by Drop Off” event which will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, and from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. This event will take place at the roundabout in front of the Dugan Library in order to allow for the community at large to participate.
Distribution at the Lord’s Diner will take place at the North location from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, and at the South location from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 28.
In past years, the Lord’s Diner has relied on churches for donations, so costume distribution has not had great turnouts, McGuffey said. “There were a few full costumes to hand out, but most were partial, so we had to pick and choose which guests could receive one,” McGuffey said. “This year I hope to fix that.”
She is asking for a variety of sizes and costume categories in order to account for children of all ages. McGuffey’s goal is to collect between 200 and 300 complete costumes in order to give children in the Wichita area the full Halloween experience.
“It’s so important that kids are allowed to express themselves in a fun way, and providing that opportunity for them is a very rewarding experience,” McGuffey said. “Even if I just make one kid’s Halloween, this entire project—all the phone calls, e-mails, time, and effort required to make it happen—will all be worth it.”
If you are interested in volunteering to organize or distribute costumes, contact McGuffey at firstname.lastname@example.org.