GILLESPIE - Community members are invited to visit with residents and get their sugar fix at the annual trunk-or-treat at Gillespie Health & Rehab Center.

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From 5–8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023, kids can stop by the facility’s parking lot at 7588 Staunton Road in Gillespie. Staff members will be parked and waiting with candy, popcorn, cotton candy and “little trinkets,” said Activity Director Jolynn Hemken. The community is then invited to walk through the halls of the facility and trick-or-treat with residents.

“The residents just love the kids,” Hemken said.

Gillespie Health & Rehab Center is a long-term care facility with several rehabilitation programs. Director of Nursing Sara Tex explained that they have many residents who live at the facility full-time and others who live there for a few months as they recover from surgeries and similar health issues.

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While treatments like physical therapy are important, activity and socialization are just as medicinal. Hemken said the center provides activities for residents to “keep them busy” with bingo, music, bands, crafts and visitors every day of the week. Recently, a preschool class came by to sing Halloween songs. Hemken and Tex hope to see a lot of people at the trunk-or-treat to strengthen that connection between residents and the community.

“We have a lot of residents that have lived here for a really long time,” Tex added. “It’s just a team effort.”

CEO Kim Schardan noted that the trunk-or-treat event is also a way for Gillespie Health & Rehab Center to be involved in the community. She said staff members will be wearing costumes and the entire facility will be in the spirit as they celebrate Halloween and local healthcare.

“Events such as these are not only fun but are among our ways of giving back to the community we serve,” Schardan said. “It meshes perfectly with our commitment to provide genuine hometown care while serving as a vital partner in the community.”

For more information about the trunk-or-treat event, call 217-839-2171. The event will be held rain or shine. To learn more about Gillespie Health & Rehab Center, including how to utilize their services, visit their official website at

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