HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) – More than eight thousand kids and their families celebrated Halloween with Garland County law enforcement. And one group used the night to raise awareness about foster children.
Boo with a Badge brought 10 Garland County first responder agencies to hand out candy for kids, along with fun activities like a Haunted House.
"We can put a face and name to law enforcement. A lot of people just see us driving around in cars and working calls,” Hot Springs Officer Joey Williams said.
Over two-thousand pounds of candy was donated from people in the community to pass out.
“It's safe. It's good candy that you know isn't going to have anything done to it,” Hot Springs Officer Shawn Lowrey said.
But for Williams and Lowrey, this Halloween is about more than just tricks and treats.
"We have well over 100 kids in Garland County in foster care but only 22 or 23 open foster homes,” Lowrey said.
It is about raising awareness for The CALL, an organization near and dear to their hearts.
"The CALL is a Christian based organization that helps look for foster parents and recruit foster parents. This is an opportunity to bring the call out and introduce them to the community,” Williams said.
Officer Williams is a former foster parent with the CALL, but now has his own son thanks to the program.
"My wife and I couldn't have kids, so for us, it gave us an opportunity to have a child and we adopted our son when he was 8 months old,” Williams said.
For new foster parent Officer Shawn Lowrey, he said he hopes the event will make more families step up to help.
"All these kids, they're in the system by nothing that they did. These kids, they're not bad kids, they're just in bad situations,” Lowrey said.
With another successful Boo with a Badge in the books, these two officers hope more people are aware of the foster situation in Garland county.
"We need more foster families. Whenever I went through my training, there was only 16 and now we've got just over 25 I believe, so we're getting them up there but we still need more people,” Lowrey said.
For information on how to foster a child, visit their website.
This was the biggest year Boo with the Badge has ever seen with about 8,500 people.