Four years ago, then 11-year-old Emma Rose Shapiro came up with a bold idea. She was sorting through her Halloween costumes from years past and decided to create an organization that gave kids an opportunity to donate their old costumes to kids who aren't as fortunate. And The Halloween Helpers was born.
Through The Halloween Helpers, Emma enlists the help of children who outgrow or no longer want their old costumes and asks them to share these costumes with kids who would not typically receive them. In doing so, she not only helps out kids in need, but she raises awareness among her peers that there are children who cannot afford to participate in Halloween.
Since Shapiro started the program in 2008, more than 3,000 costumes have been collected and distributed to children throughout the Philadelphia area. Today, Shapiro — now 15 — would like to turn her simple idea into a full-fledged, year-round charitable program.
"Emma Rose now feels that her idealistic program needs to become a full-fledged 501c3 to receive widespread acceptance and legitimacy, and to perpetuate her long-term vision. Her goal was not just to collect and distribute costumes for a few hours of enjoyment. Rather, her original intention was, and still is, to distribute the costumes and hold costume parades/parties in local community centers. This will ensure that children have a safe place to show off their costumes and trick-or-treat in a positive, secure environment," says Emma's mom, Ilyse Shapiro.
To get this program rolling, Shapiro needs to raise $1,700 to apply for nonprofit status. She has turned to Indiegogo, an online crowd-sourcing fundraising tool, for help. The money will be used to pay for the government application and attorney fees necessary to operate The Halloween Helpers on a larger scale.
"In the long-run, I'd love The Halloween Helpers to go beyond Halloween day. I would like to develop programs and services on a year-round basis that perpetuate the positive feelings and strong sense of community that Halloween provides kids," said Emma.
For more information or to make a contribution check out Emma's fundraising page on Indiegogo.
More green kids stories on MNN:
- Teens Turning Green launches Project Green Challenge
- 12 eco-themed Halloween costumes
- The green mom behind Green Halloween