BY SARAH HUFFMAN
The Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (KHCC) held its annual Thanksgiving Day in the center in the Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood on October 28th. The event included raffles, vaccine and voting information, and a variety of activities and booths.
Margaret Della, KHCC’s chief executive director, said the Harvest Fest was held earlier indoors, but last year it was moved outside as a COVID-19 safety precaution. “This was kind of the first event we brought people back together and it was so much fun,” she said.
Activities that day included temporary tattoos, a Wii station, photo box station, mask making, pumpkin painting, information about the center’s garden, cookie decorating, t-shirt painting, games, snacks, and a haunted house from the center’s youth leadership council .
Della said the festival was primarily planned and run by various departments within the KHCC, which is based at 3101 Kingsbridge Terrace # 5900 in the Bronx. “It’s definitely a collaboration,” she said. “It takes several months for people to get together. It’s just fun to see everyone roll up their sleeves together and come out, hang out, and then even better to see all the kids having fun; something happy! “
KHCC has also partnered with the New York City Artist Corps, a city-funded and city-run program that supports New York City-based working artists who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. According to Della, the center has partnered with the Artist Corps for previous programs, but this is the first time they’ve hosted them at the Harvest Festival.
“There are a few artists doing various table exercises so people can just get involved, and it’s all funded by the City Artists Corps,” she said.
Gerry Sherman, coordinator of the KHCC’s gardening program, was busy occupying the pumpkin decoration station that day and said it was a popular booth that many children would stop by in search of a pumpkin. “It’s going well,” she said. “I hope I don’t run out of pumpkins. I call last year’s harvest festival Pumpkingate 2020! “
Individually wrapped snacks and candy donated by KHCC staff and community members were distributed to children and families throughout the afternoon, some of whom were dressed in Halloween costumes. As she was handing out the snacks to the children, Allison Lauro, a social work intern, was asked how the day was going. “It seems really good,” she said. “A lot of our snacks were eaten very quickly, which is a good sign, and there are a lot of young children I don’t usually see.”
Noris DeJesus-Petrone, director of the Changing Futures Program, a KHCC program that helps survivors from trauma, including domestic violence and sexual abuse, organized a booth for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. There she also distributed wristbands, notebooks, masks and information about the program.
KHCC offers a variety of programs for Bronx residents of all ages. The center provides resources and programs to help community members lead independent lives. More information is available at khcc-nyc.org.