NORFOLK, Va. - The dog days of summer may be over, but the puppy parades of fall are just beginning.
Leslie Crocker, a founding members of Magnolia Circle, said, "We felt like incorporating exercise and animals was a great way to have people in the community come out and support the hospital."
Dressed to the nines in their Halloween costumes, a plethora of puppies helped raise money for CHKD's mental health hospital.
"The truth is that the children can't wait. There's more need for a mental health hospital than ever. This is where the proceeds from this event will go towards," said Chandy Jones, a Circle Member and organizer of the Howl-O-Ween Puppy Parade.
The 14-story building in Norfolk on Gresham Drive is currently under construction, but when finished is expected to transform mental health care for children across the state.
Fundraising for the hospital came to a crawl when COVID-19 hit the United States.
"Over 100 events had to be canceled in 2020 alone, and it doesn't look like we're going to be doing any fundraising even into 2021," Jones said.
Every dollar raised from Saturday's socially distant Puppy Parade counts.
"It's necessary for us to move forward as a community, it's necessary for us to move forward as philanthropists and it's really a way for us to show we can give back," said Crocker.
Saturday may have been a first for many of the attendees, but organizers hope that it won't be the last.