HAMLET – Fall is the best time of year for carnivals and candy. And for local special needs students, an exclusive night is set to give them the perfect combination of both.
Students who attended Cordova School (up until its closure at the end of the 2016-17 school year) will have their own personal fall festival followed by a “trunk or treat.” Previous to the school’s closing, Cordova held the event annually.
But thanks to the generosity of Outreach for Jesus Church, and the determination of Tammy Benoist, the fall festival tradition will go on.
After Cordova School shut its doors, Benoist wanted to continue the tradition by putting an event together for all children with special needs. She knew how much this event meant to the children, but also their families.
Benoist has a nine-year-old severely autistic son who attended Cordova School, as well as two other children. She believes that the fall event is about much more than just candy.
“When the students are in their own environment around children with similar disabilities, they are more comfortable,” Benoist said. “It also makes it a lot easier for parents due to the common understanding.”
Benoist says that the students always look forward to the festival and have thoroughly enjoyed participating in it. She added that she started thinking of how she could help about a month ago, and decided to go forward with the idea.
“My son taught me the true meaning of things, and now I look at everything differently,” Benoist added. “These children deserve the world, and it is a joy to watch them participate with excitement in all the activities each year.”
Benoist also wanted to give Cheryl Rapisardi special thanks for all the help she is providing, which includes building all the props for the event.
The fall festival will take place at Outreach for Jesus’ Church located in Hamlet on Saturday, October 28 from 3 to 6 p.m. The trunk or treat will run the last hour of the event.
Some of the activities to be featured will be a bounce house, ring toss, go fish, face painting, bowling, and more than 20 others. Prizes will be given out to everyone.
Benoist also said she wants to do another event that parallels the fall festival in the late spring or early summer.
Donations are still needed for this year’s event, and can be dropped off at Long’s Pool Service (located beside Biscuitville in Rockingham). Also needed are cupcakes, food, candy and prizes.
Volunteers are also needed, as well as a popcorn machine and a cotton candy machine. If you are interested in helping or donating in any way, please contact Tammy Benoist at
(910) 719-2063 or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org