Although trick-or-treating might not be socially acceptable for university students, the Campus Food Bank is providing an opportunity to relive that childhood memory for a good cause.
On October 26, the Campus Food Bank will host their annual food drive Trick-or-TrEAT, where teams of students go door-to-door in costume asking for food bank donations from neighbourhoods surrounding the university. As their largest food drive of the year, the centre aims to acquire at least 20 per cent of annual supplies during the event.
Third-year dietetics student and Campus Food Bank events coordinator Madison McGinn said this annual Campus Food Bank drive has become an expected tradition for the Garneau, Windsor Park, Belgravia, McKernan, and Queen Alex neighbourhoods.
“It’s longstanding enough that in the community people recognize us,” McGinn said. “The community members have come to expect us.”
McGinn said the Campus Food Bank, which offers free food hampers for students without proof of financial need, has been seeing an increase in clients in the past year, making events such as Trick-or-TrEAT even more essential to their operations.
“Research says it’s about 40 per cent of students in Canadian universities experiencing food insecurity, so it’s huge,” she said. “Beyond students, there are students with families. A fifth of our clients are children.”
“We’re about 30 per cent busier this September and we’ve been increasing the number of hampers we’re giving out steadily over the past five years, so we really need the help so we can keep filling hampers.”
The event is open to both students and families with no prior volunteer experience needed. Alongside going door-to-door, volunteer drivers are also needed to drive supplies back to campus. Those unavailable for the food drive can get involved through flyering neighbourhoods beforehand.
Though participants won’t be collecting candy, the Campus Food Bank will be providing treats alongside orientation for volunteers before the food drive.
McGinn believes the food drive can act as the perfect team building activity for students groups while also providing a chance for groups to become acquainted with the centre.
“We want to link hands with as many groups on campus because we’re the only charity on campus serving students on campus,” she said.
McGinn hopes that considering the campus’ increasing needs that students will participate in however they can.
“It’s really important to build up our stores so we can meet this growing need,” she said. “It’s been growing for five years and there are no signs of it slowing down with the number of new clients we have received.”
“We really do appreciate any support. The event means a lot to us.”