A ghoulish time will be had by all

20th Monster Bash set for Friday evening fun in North Little Rock

Monster Bash chairs Rennie and Brad Jenkins join a friend at Home for Healing on West Markham Street.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison)
Monster Bash chairs Rennie and Brad Jenkins join a friend at Home for Healing on West Markham Street. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison)

Ghosties and ghoulies and a few things that may go bump in the night will festoon the venue -- The Venue at Westwind, 7318 Windsong Drive, North Little Rock -- for the 20th Monster Bash, 7-10:30 p.m. Friday.

Look for coffins, cauldrons, creatures with skeletal features (some of them scarier than others) and all manner of Halloween gear.

"The decorating committee did a stellar job," says Rennie Jenkins, who is chairing the event with her husband, Brad. "They've been planning it for 12 months."

Monster Bash is the biggest benefit of each year for Home for Healing (formerly The Family Home of Little Rock), across West Markham Street from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. It provides lodging for patients and their caregivers -- parents of patients in intensive care and infants in neo-natal intensive care units and individuals undergoing cancer treatment and their caregivers -- from any medical facility in the area, and all at no cost to them.

The Bash raises approximately a third of what it the costs to run the home. "It's the biggie," Brad Jenkins says.

This year's Monster Bash features "devilish drinks," hors d'oeuvres from area restaurants, music and dancing and live and silent auctions.

Rennie Jenkins is a Realtor for Jon Underhill Real Estate and Dr. Brad Jenkins is a physician at the Baptist Health Family Clinic in Lakewood and the emergency medical director at Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock. They had attended a previous Monster Bash, "and loved it," Brad Jenkins says.

They had already been serving on a Home for Healing board committee; then Rennie took a tour of the facility with Executive Director Kristin Trulock. Right away, she says, "I asked what more we could do to help."

Brad Jenkins' employer, Baptist Health, is one of the presenting sponsors. Rennie Jenkins says they have already met their $120,000 sponsorship goal, and that the event has officially sold out all 650 spots (at $100 a ticket), though Trulock says it's still possible to get on a waiting list in case there are any cancellations.

They're looking to raise $250,000 with the addition of donations and the take from the auctions, in which attendees can bid on trips, weekend opportunities (including hotel stays), Razorbacks tickets, diamonds, pet and baby packages, golf outings and spa treatments. For $25 you can get in on one of three raffles: "Basket of Hard Spirits," "Basket of Wines" or "A Yeti Cooler Full of Exotic Beer." (For $75, you can enter all three.)

Seven restaurants -- Scallions, Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro, Hope Bistro, Stickyz Rock 'N' Roll Chicken Shack, The Fold, Raduno and Cantina Laredo -- will each set up a table from which patrons can collect a variety of foods. The ticket includes an open bar. "Poolboy" from radio station KLAL-FM, "Alice 107.7," and TV meteorologist Todd Yakoubian will be the emcees.

Tragickly White will perform; dance-floor lights will be in sync with the music. A dance company will perform a version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." And there will be a costume contest, with prizes for individuals, groups and "DIY" from celebrity judges Adam Bledsoe and Ashley King of KTHV, Channel 11's, "The Vine."

"It's a great time," Brad Jenkins says. "Everybody dresses up."

Home for Healing will honor its founding board members with its Community Impact Award; UAMS' Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will be honored with the Heart of the Home Award.

The Jenkinses both grew up in North Little Rock. They have five children, four of whom have left the nest. Their volunteer work prior to this has mostly centered on Baptist Health, their church and their children's schools.

Home for Healing started out a couple of decades ago as the UAMS Family Home, after members of the Ronald McDonald House's board saw the need for a home for adult patients and caregivers who had been sleeping in their cars. At some point it became The Family Home, and when Trulock took over three years ago, the name changed again to Home for Healing.

"What makes Home for Healing special is that no matter how far away you come from, you can stay here," Rennie Jenkins says, and it's based entirely on need -- no financial limitations or time limits on stays. "We face a broad spectrum of needs; we reach out across the community.

"Come here and take a tour and see these families. Right away, you'll say, 'How can I help? What can I do?'"

For ticket information, volunteer opportunities and ways to donate, visit monsterbash2023.cbo.io. For more information on Home for Healing, visit homeforhealing.org.

  photo  Rennie and Brad Jenkins were members of a Home for Healing board committee before a tour of the facility convinced them they needed to do more to help. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Eric E. Harrison)

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