Former food bank clients hold benefit haunted house for neighbours in need

halloween1Halloween to most of us is all about having a good laugh, great candy and maybe a fun scare. But to Amanda Bennett and Daphne James, this year’s Halloween is about helping their community and giving back to a food bank that was once there for them.

Amanda and Daphne, parents of an 11 year old and 12 year old, have built a massive haunted house in their yard — which includes everything from animatronic figures to over 15 live, volunteer actors!

But the reason for all of this effort is more than to entertain, it’s to collect donations for the Calgary Food Bank — a place they’ve been before for help.

“We came to the food bank [for help] recently and it was an amazing experience — everyone is so nice and friendly,” Daphne says.

“Now we get the chance to give back after the food bank helped us when we needed it.”

Last year the family had another, smaller haunted house had over 700 visitors, mostly neighbourhood kids. This year is the first year they plan to collect for us and with the added extras, and this year they expect around 1,000.

“Kids love it! It’s so funny because they come and go through the house and get candy and often they go home after and come back with the whole family.”

The idea for this all-out haunted house came from watching friends and family being laid off since the downturn. They knew from their own experience the food bank would be under huge demand.

Though the family has been planning this haunted house for a while, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that Amanda, too, was laid off.

“Now it’s like, here we are, in the same boat as everyone else,” Daphne says.

But this turn of events, she added, has motivated them even more to help those in need.

“Everyday people use the food bank,” Daphne says. “We’re regular, middle class people. Some people think it’s just poor people or lower class people who go to the food bank but its people who look just like us.”

The haunted house runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Halloween night at 24 Taralake Street NE. There will be Calgary Food Bank donation boxes and everyone is welcome to join in on the fun of giving back!

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