For the past five years, Sabrina Ramirez has collected hundreds of Halloween costumes for kids around the Valley.
Each year, she gathers collected costumes from garage sales, collection sites and organizes them out of her own home.
Though diagnosed earlier this year with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder, Ramirez plans to press on toward her goal of collecting 600 costumes this season.
“It’s been very challenging but this is my motivation,” said Ramirez, who has lived in Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000.
With about 15 collection sites planned to go up around the Valley next week, Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 3550 E. Knox Road, the Ahwatukee Swim and Tennis Center, 4700 E. Warner Road, and Woolaver Clearsmiles, 4425 E. Agave Road, Suite 126, are a few currently accepting costumes.
As a social worker for nearly 20 years, Ramirez was familiar with the charity work of St. Vincent de Paul and saw a need in the community.
“Halloween is a hardship for parents, too,” said Ramirez, who is also a single mother. “Most families have multiple kids to get costumes for and a lot of kids don’t want to make their own.”
Last year, she gave out close to 400 costumes and turned away about 100 kids after all of the costumes were taken.
This year, Ramirez hopes to collect 600 costumes to hand out Oct. 26.
She started the drive with 25 costumes and the help of her two kids. While Ramirez and her family always had a love for Halloween, she especially saw Ahwatukee as place to start collecting.
“Ahwatukee is the hub for garage sales,” said Ramirez, who finds a lot of costumes through local garage sales.
She has collected about 150 costumes so far this year, and though she has the support of her kids and fellow volunteers she hopes the community will come through for the cause.
“The goal every year is that the kids have a good selection to choose from, and that they walk away with something they love,” Ramirez said.
Though her health will soon become more of a barrier to her work, as Ramirez will begin chemotherapy this week, she maintains an optimistic outlook.
“This is the beginning of the holiday season for giving,” she said. “I want to leave a legacy on how important it is to give.”
For more information about the costume drive, or how to volunteer, call Ramirez at (480) 612-3139.
Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or firstname.lastname@example.org