Coalition Works To Build Community In Downtown Wichita With Halloween Event

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- A coalition of organizations, non-profits, and houses of worship joined together Sunday to build and strengthen community in downtown Wichita.

They hosted a "Trunk or Treat" Halloween street party along a five-block stretch of Broadway. The event was free and allowed children to trick-or-treat in a safe setting. It also allowed families to mingle with their neighbors.

More than 2,000 people attended the event.

"We need to create opportunities for community," said Victor Peterson of Partners for Wichita, an organization that began five years ago to create peace in the city through collaboration with various groups.

Partners for Wichita took the lead in organizing the event but got support from many organizations and churches in the downtown area.

"We all don't need to get credit for it. What needs to happen is that we are serving our neighbors and loving on them," Peterson said. "If we work together, we are going to be more successful."

What they'd like to be successful at is bringing a renewed sense of community and pride to downtown.

"We are seeing less resources and more need in our community," Peterson said. "We can't operate as independent organizations and churches if we are going to make a difference."

Sunday's celebration showcased their mission to work together. Leaders of organizations and churches worked side-by-side. Some provided food and others provided free Halloween costumes for families that may not have been able to afford them otherwise.

The hope is that this display of togetherness and support helps to strengthen and improve the area.

"When the community comes together and does positive things, we see positive results," said Sgt. Kelly O'Brien of the Wichita Police Department.

People who attended the event Sunday say they believe in those efforts and they hope to see Trunk or Treat done annually.

"The more people come out and see that people are involved in the community and that's it not dangerous here (in downtown), they'll be more likely to do it year after year," Destiny Cavanaugh said.

That's exactly what the organizers of Sunday's event are hoping for in the future.

"It's not just about a Trunk or Treat, it's about creating community and partnerships," Peterson said.

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