Everyone has an opportunity to be a superhero this month — no cape or tights required.
Childhelp — a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of neglect, abuse and trauma — is partnering with the Phoenix Police Department for the third annual Superhero September.
Throughout the month, the organizations will collect donations of superhero-themed T-shirts, toys, coloring books, action figures and other items to give to the more than 500 children who visit the advocacy center each month. Monetary donations are also being accepted.
Superhero September kicked off Saturday with the Super Main Event, bringing all ages to the Childhelp center in Phoenix to meet costumed superheros and drop off donations.
Phoenix Police Detective Sean Reavie said he wants every child to know that he or she can overcome any terrible thing that has happened, just as superheroes do.
The donations help.
“You wouldn’t believe how it changes them,” Reavie said. “It’s instant.”
In one particular case, Reavie said, a little girl hesitant to even step foot into Childhelp’s superhero playroom was given a Supergirl cape and mask. She was instantly transformed.
Reavie said she flew toward a group of kids across the room and said, “I’m a hero and I’m going to save all of you.”
That’s how Reavie knew he made a difference. He makes sure to have female superheroes and action figures available as well because “little girls can be superheroes too.”
Reavie said collecting superhero items also away to unify the community for the common good of saving a child.
Only a couple of days into fundraising, event organizers said they are seeing double the donations they saw last year.
“This year what we’re seeing is a lot more people willing to give,” said Danielle Gilmore, spokeswoman for Childhelp Arizona. “Not just attend.”
Michelle Smith attended with three children she nannies. She said they wanted to come out, show support and donate a few items.
Smith said the children enjoyed meeting the costumed superheroes, checking out the Batmobile and eating burgers.
Scott Snover, dressed as Spiderman, said he couldn’t help but want to be a part of empowering kids who are less fortunate.
“It makes me feel excellent,” he said. “I put myself in their shoes. If I can make somebody feel better about who they are, that’s what I’m all for.”
Anyone who missed the event and wants to donate can drop off items at the Childhelp Community Center, 2120 N. Central Ave.
People can also drop off gift cards to Target and Walmart, which will be used for superhero shopping sprees taking place later this month.
Donations can also be made online via the Childhelp website.
The Transformers “Bumblebee” super mobile at the Super Main Event in Phoenix. (Photo: Adrian Marsh)
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