The first Kids Fun Day took place in 2008 as a way to collect school supplies. The event’s popularity snowballed over the years, with 400 people attending the first year to now over 1,500.
“It’s now become a community event that people look forward to,” said Debbie Hampson, director of community programs for Catholic Charities. “In April, people and vendors are already asking when the event will be held.”
Over 30 vendors and 40 volunteers make the event a success.
“We ask each of our nonprofit organizations to do some kind of activity for kids or have giveaways,” said Hampson.
Over 800 backpacks provided by co-sponsor Fidelis were given out to children. In addition, representatives from Empire Blue Cross, Coalition for Behavioral Health, and Healthplex provided dental screenings and CPR training.
“It’s a great opportunity for people who may not know that there are all these resources,” Hampson said. “Sometimes people don’t like to ask for help, so here it is.”
One staple of the event is The Floating Hospital, which has been providing healthcare to families in need since 1866. In fact, Floating Hospital has become so popular due to Kids Fun Day that they had to hire bilingual providers.
Eleven years ago, it was the first invite Floating Hospital received from a community-based organization.
“It is still a good connector for us,” said Community Outreach director Cynthia Davis. “This is the most popular thing the interns look forward to doing every summer.”
Hour Children, which advocates on behalf of children whose parents are incarcerated, brings kids to the event every year.
“They love it,” said afterschool coordinator Lisa Belfast. “One year every one of my children won a prize.”