VIENNA - Children from throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley participated in games and crafts set up throughout the Grand Central Mall on Saturday during the Connect!Kids Walk.
"We want to give the kids something fun to do and we will help children with cancer," said Katrina Stephens, event organizer and marketing director for the mall.
Saturday's program was the first time for the event, which raised funds to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the fight against childhood cancer.
Arabella Kimes, 3, of Parkersburg, gets help from her dad Ronnie Kimes playing the giant Operation game at Grand Central Mall on Saturday during the Connect!Kids Walk. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
Evan Miller, 5, left, and his sister Kaycee Miller, 8, of Parkersburg, make cards for children who are patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during the Grand Central Mall’s Connect!Kids Walk on Saturday. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
Jacob Schlunde, 7, of Belpre, works on a Mother’s Day card at one of the activity stops. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
"Everything offered for the kids to do is free, but we asked for a $5 donation for the Connect!Kids Walk T-shirts," Stephens said. "Through that we hope to raise a couple hundred dollars or more."
Of the funds donated, the mall will match them up to $500.
"This is something all of the 25 malls owned by Glimcher are doing, which means we will be able to collect a lot of donations and really make a difference," Stephens added. "Every dollar helps children fighting cancer."
During Saturday's event the children made cards for other children receiving treatment in St. Jude's in Memphis, Tenn., made Mother's Day cards, got their faces painted and played with a giant Operation game.
Stephens said Operation is always popular when the mall brings it out for children's events and a group of siblings were seen arguing over who got to do what.
Three-year-old Arabella Kimes, of Parkersburg, quietly tried to use the tongs to pull the "organ" pieces out of the patient and quickly gave up, using her hands.
"This is a great event," said Diana Kimes, Arabella's mother. "We always try to do fun things with her as a family and she seems to really be having a good time.
"Plus it helps the kids at St. Jude's, which is great."
Stephens added the Connect!Kids program is a new ongoing umbrella program for events the mall holds for children - including Halloween - with the hopes of added new events.