Altamont Nursing Home Hosts Food Allergy Friendly Halloween Event

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. -- Halloween can be a tricky time for kids with food allergies.

One in 13 children has an allergy to nuts, soy, gluten or wheat.

That’s why a nursing home in Altamont opened their doors for a fun, inclusive event Saturday.

Guilderland Center Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility hosted a trick or treat “spooktacular” featuring non-food treats such as yo-yo’s and Frisbees.

Residents also handed out candy to kids.

The event was in partnership with the Teal Pumpkin Project, a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all.

"We can all remember being a kid and growing up and getting into your costume and going door to door, kids who have a food allergy may not be able to experience that excitement because of the limitations they may have due to what they can consume and can't consume,” said Gary March, Guilderland Center Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility assistant administrator.

The rehab also held a costume contest with prizes for visiting trick or treaters.


Bayside has a new playground thanks to local volunteers and community organizations

By Suzanne Monteverdi

Children in Bayside have a new playground to enjoy thanks to a huge team of local volunteers and sponsors.

Volunteers from Samuel Field Y and Disney Citizenship joined organizers from KaBOOM! — a national nonprofit dedicated to providing children with safe spaces to play — to construct a brand-new playground at the Bay Terrace Samuel Field Y on Friday, Sept. 23.

“It’s really been a collaborative effort,” said Michelle Ragoo, volunteer at the build and after-school program director at P.S. 115. “Everyone decided to work collaboratively and work on a different area in different shifts to make this happen.”

Ragoo has been a part of the Samuel Field Y for 10 years, starting as a volunteer at the age of 16. Her job at the playground construction site was building and putting up panels to serve as the playground’s walls.

“[The playground] is gonna bring a lot of joy for many, many years to come” she continued. “It’s definitely a milestone for everyone here in the Bay Terrace community,especially all of the children that are a part of the preschool here.”

Melissa Algranati, volunteer and seasonal employee at the Y, echoed Ragoo’s sentiments. She pointed out that local children were kept in mind every step of the way, even when coming up with playground schematics. KaBOOM! used local children’s drawings from a special Design Day in July as inspiration for the build.

“They dreamed it last summer and now they can come and see it,” Algranati said. “A week from now the kids will be playing in it and saying, ‘Wow, the adults really put their money where their mouth is.’”

The playground is constructed for children aged 2 to 12 and is inclusive of children from all walks of life.

At lunch hour, volunteers from The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Queens were on hand to donate food to hundreds of hungry playground builders.

“We love to give back to the community,” said Jake Walden, vice president of business development at The Grand Healthcare System. “[The Samuel Field Y] was looking for sponsors for lunch and we took the opportunity to bring pizza and make a huge barbecue.”

The Samuel Field Y of Bay Terrace is located at 212-00 23rd Ave.


Event to Feature Non-food Treats for Kids with Food Allergies, Costume Contest and Trick-or-Treating


ALTAMONT, N.Y. (Oct. 11, 2016) — It’s October. And that means that Halloween is right around the corner. For many Capital Region families, Halloween can be tricky because many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies.

In an effort to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies, Guilderland Center Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility (428 Route 146, Altamont) will host its first annual Guilderland Center Trick-or-Treat Spooktacular in partnership with the Teal Pumpkin Project, a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids. The event is set for Saturday, Oct. 29 from 1-3 p.m. at 428 Route 146, Altamont.

“Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a growing public health issue,” said Guilderland Center Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility Admissions Coordinator Wendy Decker, noting that one in 13 children has an allergy to peanuts, nuts, and soy, or has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and need to stay away from gluten and wheat. “For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.

“By placing a teal pumpkin in front of our facility and offering non-food treats such as yo-yo’s, teal-colored frisbees and other toys as an alternative to candy, we can show children with severe allergies that Guilderland Center Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility is a safe place to trick-or-treat without the dangers,” she added.

The haunted afternoon will feature a costume contest with prizes by age group. Youngsters can also trick or treat throughout the facility collecting devilish delights along the way. Halloween bags will be provided for children to collect their treats while supplies last. 

“For the residents of nursing facilities, children are always a welcome addition to the day,” said Guilderland Center Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility Administrator Josh Gurock. “Halloween provides an opportunity for them to interact with young children and bring back memories of their childhood. It also takes them back to the days when their own children were the kids dressing up.” 

For more information, please call (518) 861-5141, or visit


Based in Whitestone, N.Y., The Grand Healthcare System offers customized rehabilitation and nursing services to patients who require either short- or long-term care. Its state-of-the-art facilities, which are located at five sites across New York, feature certified instructors who provide exceptional clinical care to help residents achieve their wellness goals. All sites offer carefully curated entertaining and dining options, and tranquil grounds for optimal recuperation. For more information, visit