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California Church Treats the Community


As the air cools and leaves fall, residents of Ripon, Calif., begin anticipating an evening of fun and fellowship at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church.

People of all ages enjoy Immanuel’s Trunk or Treat event every October.

For the past four years, Immanuel CRC has hosted a Trunk or Treat event for the neighborhood. Members of the church park cars, vans, and even boats in the church parking lot and decorate them. Then costume-clad hosts hand out candy and treats to anyone who stops by.

“We wanted to do something for our community on a night when so many people are out walking around,” said Rev. Bret Lamsma, pastor for Immanuel CRC.

About 30 people participate in decorating and handing out candy. “Over the years we have had some great car decorations like Scooby Doo's mystery machine complete with cast, the cast of Gilligan's island complete with boat, an island theme complete with all of the decorations, a trunk with teeth like a shark and one of our college students handing out candy from the inside the 'shark’s’ mouth,' and many great carved pumpkins,” said Lamsma.

Church members donate the candy and are generous in handing it out. They estimate around 200 kids come by each year. The event has expanded to include simple games for kids, face painting, and coffee, cider, and cookies.

“Our outreach team always has lots of great conversations every year. Our goal isn't to do anything other than meet our neighbors and get to know them on a night when we all share the streets together,” said Lamsma.

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