“No costume, no treats!” might be the unwritten rule for most trick-or-treaters out this All Hallow’s Eve, but how many of them can say they are doing a good deed on this most wicked of nights?This year it may be prudent to keep a few non-perishables in the candy basket by the stairs for a number of Elmira youths participating in Citizens Always Need Supper (CANS). The effort is in its ninth year of collecting canned goods instead of candy for the Region of Waterloo Food Bank.
“Halloween is sort of a self-centred holiday – it’s all about yourself, collecting candy for yourself. But this was a way we could sort of give back to our community and this is all for the food bank. It’s just a way we can help people in need,” said participant Will Allen.
Citizens Always Need Supper began as a chance for five or six kids who felt as though they were a bit too old to be trick-or-treating to still go out into the community and do something fun. Today, the initiative enjoys the participation of about 100 youths from local churches. Last year, the effort raked in 4,800 pounds of foods for charity.
“We’d like to get over 5,000 [this year]. That’s a little bit optimistic, it depends on the weather,” Allen said.
Most years the volunteers break up into small groups to cover all Elmira neighbourhoods, but instead of saying the magic words at the door they ask for canned goods. Their long-time presence in the community has made most residents familiar with the procedure.
CANS volunteers will be out on the streets starting around 6:30 p.m. on October 31.