Shelf Life Community Bookstore collecting Halloween candy for Foster Closet

NILES — As Halloween begins to draw near, volunteers with Shelf Life Community Bookstore will be collecting candy to donate to the Foster Closet of Michigan-Berrien County.

People are welcome to drop off candy donations through Oct. 24, during regular bookstore hours. Candy must be wrapped.

This year, to help provide foster children with a safe Halloween trick-or-treating, the Foster Closet of Michigan will partner with the Department of Health and Human Services to host trunk or treat event on Oct. 25. The Halloween event is a private event for foster children and their families.

Apryll Freeman, the president of the Foster Closet of Michigan-Berrien County, said she saw the community collection process as a way to get local residents involved in a providing a Halloween event for foster children, while spreading the word about the nonprofit organization.

Through the Foster Closet, children and their families can get connected with a variety of resources, such as clothing, school and hygiene supplies. With many foster children being moved suddenly, they often don’t have much to take with them. 

“Our purpose is to let folks come in and let them get anything they need or want so that they can have something of their own,” Freeman said.

Freeman said the organization got connected with Shelf Life when a bookstore volunteer, who also volunteers with the Foster Closet, suggested the location as a donation site.

Freeman said the effort of the trunk or treat event is to assure foster children have a safe space to collect holiday treats.

“Kids love Halloween. They love candy,” Freeman said. “I think [if you] put yourself in a foster kid’s situation and in their realm— it’s a festive activity [and] it is fun for them.”

This will be the first year that the Foster Closet has partnered with the DHHS to host the trunk or treat event.

For their part, Shelf Life Community Bookstore has often served as a collection site for community efforts, including the Teacher Supply Drive earlier this year. Shelf Life Community Bookstore is a partnership with Better World Books. The bookstore, located at 223 N. Fourth St., helps to raise funds for the Niles DDA Main Street, which supports events like the Hunter Ice Festival. About 10 percent of sales from the bookstore also support the Niles District Library.

Books that fill the shelves are largely donated by the community. The bookstore is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. To learn more about Shelf Life Community Bookstore, visit the store’s facebook page.