Halloween has always been children’s favourite time of the year for the tradition of dressing up and trick-or-treating at night. However, when you find students collecting non-perishable goods instead of candies amongst groups of cheerful children, you might wonder: why would anyone prefer collecting canned foods as opposed to delicious candies?
As you may or may not be aware of, hunger affects every community regardless of the size of its presence. According to Food Banks Canada, over 850,000 people of all backgrounds turn to food banks for help on a monthly basis. Halloween for Hunger, or WE Scare Hunger, is a campaign started by Jonathan White and initially adapted by Free the Children in October 2000. Mac In Action, a philanthropy council at MAC (my school), brought this event to our school to allow everyone at MAC to make a difference in the lives of those living with hunger.
As a member of MIA, I joined the Halloween for Hunger campaign this year. The temperature was near zero degree Celsius when I went canvassing on October 31st. I was initially discouraged – many locals did not answer the doorbell possibly believing that I was trick-or-treating for the candies they did not prepare for or have ran out. However, right when I was contemplating on giving up, I saw someone running down the street. It was a senior who, moments ago, told me that he did not have any non-perishable food. However, he was running in the cold just to donate the cans that he found in the kitchen.
I was deeply touched by his act and was determined to continue canvassing. I realized that there were a lot of kind-hearted individuals who wanted to give back to our community and I was bridging the gap between their ideals and actions. By the time I got home, I was exhausted but also exuberant knowing that everything I did was for a good cause. I was amazed by people’s kindness and felt that nothing was more rewarding than seeing boxes and bags of food piling up in the MIA office.
So far, I’ve only talked about the event from my perspective. Now, let’s hear from other students at MAC!
“I love the fact that Halloween for Hunger follows the concept of Halloween where people give out candy. I’ll never
get tired of people replying that they will ‘check what they have.’ This shows that everyone is trying their best to give back to their community and help out those in need. Sometimes people come back with a handful of food, and other times it is just one can or a box of past
a. Either case is just as rewarding because I connect with my neighbours as we see both the food and their generosity pile up.
“I hope Halloween for Hunger can be a normal tradition for not just members of MIA but everyone at MAC. It’d be great to expand our reputation so that everyone would know the level of activism and the amount of impact we as a school are trying to make. Can you imagine all Blackscots reaching out to our neighbours on the same night? In the future, we should perhaps extend th
e event for it to last the entire week of Halloween. It will highlight the impact Halloween for Hunger is originally trying to make!” – Meihua Li.
“This event is absolutely amazing and beneficial to the community. Action has to be taken to end poverty and MIA is doing a lot to ensure that everyone in our school is aware of issues like this” – Sunny Sun.
“Hunger is one of the major problems in our society, and we need to fight this problem however we can. Everyone should have access to food and water, but not everyone have them. As students at MAC and members of our community, we are entitled to help those people.
“MIA does a lot of advertisements, but the majority of people just don’t care about it. People should change their attitudes and be willing to help. We humans must help our brothers and sisters on this planet.
“In my opinion, every school should have this event to raise awareness and inspire youth volunteers to strengthen the capacity of our food banks. Luckily, we are kind people as a whole, and we are the ones that can make a change. We can start small with our school, then our city Toronto, and then expand this campaign more and more to
help people from all over the world. All it takes to defeat such global issues is generous people and some actions.” – Felix Ferlicchia.
Indeed, no one should have to go hungry. Let us think globally and act locally, starting by donating canned foods to those in need and encouraging others to do the same.
Hunger is neither a desired reality nor something that we are incapable of changing. It is undeniably challenging to eliminate suffering from hunger completely, however, we can alleviate this situation by raising awareness and taking actions in our community. Every participant is crucial and every item counts. Collectively, we can make an impact! Thus, why not grab a few friends and family members to go trick or treating for canned food?