EAST PALESTINE — When Nate Foster learned last year that some kids at the elementary school weren’t able to buy books during the school’s book fair, he decided to do something about it.
Foster organizes the Creepy Hollows Haunted Trail each year, and this year he decided to put all proceeds from the event toward the East Palestine Elementary School’s Scholastic Book Fair.
Foster said that as a kid he always looked forward to his school’s book fair and anticipated what he would be able to buy while browsing through the Scholastic catalog.
When his girlfriend Ashley Koehler, a local Head Start teacher, told him that some elementary students needed money last year to buy books, he helped out on his own then, but decided to help out on a bigger scale this year by getting the community involved.
Foster has already reached out to the school administration and the Parent Teacher Organization, and they are on board.
The fundraiser also has support from area businesses, who are already donating money for the roughly $2,500 needed to make sure each of the nearly 500 preschool through fifth-grade students is able to buy a book during the fair, Foster said.
Once the Haunted Trail located within the East Palestine Park opens to the public the $5 admission price will go back toward a $5 voucher for each student to get a book.
The trail will be open from 8-10 p.m. each Saturday in October beginning on Oct. 6.
The school’s Scholastic Book Fair is scheduled for Oct. 22-26, which means that the first three Haunted Trail nights will raise money for the vouchers.
Foster said he is still looking for additional businesses interested in donating and also looking for anyone who would like to volunteer with the trail.
Those interested should contact him by calling 330-610-2359 or reaching out on the Creepy Hollows Haunted Trail Facebook page. Volunteers meet each night of the trail from 5-7 p.m.
“It’s been a great thing as long as it’s been running,” Foster said of the event that is now in its 11th year.
Before it became an official community event, Foster first began organizing his own haunted trail in his back yard.
Foster said it has been fun to watch people who first volunteered get older and then their own children begin volunteering as well for generational involvement.
Within the last three years the Rotary International has also brought in foreign exchange students to visit the trail at no cost.
“We’ve had kids from all over the world who come through this trail. We’re international now,” he joked.
This year’s trail will be a bit different, and even longer, than before, he added.
Originally printed Morning Journal