They may be older than your typical trick-or-treater, but that won’t stop hundreds of university students from donning costumes and showing up on your doorstep this Saturday.
Students from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University will be going door-to-door for a good cause this Halloween.
But they’re not asking for candy. They’re looking for donations of non-perishable food to help Canadian families who struggle to put meals on the table.
Canada’s largest youth food drive, Trick-or-Eat, will see over 6,000 students across the country collecting food for Meal Exchange, a national student-led charity that works to raise awareness of local hunger, said Allison Smith, the Meal Exchange co-coordinator at Carleton.
“A lot of people would be surprised that hunger is a problem in Ottawa,” said Smith. “Ottawa is considered recession proof, but when you look at the numbers, it’s just not true. There are people who are hungry and people who don’t know where their next meals are coming from.”
Here in the capital, about 40,000 people need some sort of food assistance each month, Smith said.
“And even more startling is about a third of food-aid recipients are children.”
In 2008, students from both universities collected about 8,000 pounds of food, which went to the Ottawa Food Bank and food banks on each school’s campus.
“It’s a great way for students to get involved in the fight against local hunger and have fun at the same time. It’s a great chance for them to help out,” said Julie Brezden, Meal Exchange coordinator at the UOttawa food bank.
Nationwide, this year’s goal is to collect 140,000 meals, and an extra $30,000 in online donations.