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Halloween in Elmira again involves CANS, not just candy

Ben Allison will take part in the CANS initiative this year to help collect donations for the food bank during Halloween night in Elmira. [Aneta Rebisewski]

Though they may be foregoing the trick-or-treating, a group of Elmira young people have a good reason to go door-to-door this Halloween, as they’ll be collecting donations for the food bank.

This year’s effort involves the latest group of volunteers for Citizens Always Need Supper, or CANS as most know it, which dates back to 2003. They’ll be continuing a tradition that started with a couple of 12-year-old Woodside Bible Fellowship attendees deciding to do something a little different with their Halloween evening, opting to go door-to-door collecting food bank donations rather than candy.

For Ben Allison, a Grade 9 student at EDSS, moving past the trick-or-treating stage wasn’t an excuse for a relaxing night. Instead, he’ll take part on the collection process.

“It’s really a great thing to do for the community, there’s always going to be people needing help. And the more help we can give them, the better,” Allison says about CANS, the initiative he just joined this year.

After being approached by his neighbour to help out and take over his role, Allison wasn’t the least bit hesitant, excited about getting involved in his community.

“In the past year, I started realizing I’m never too young to start helping people out,” says the 14-year-old.

While he gets to give back to those in need there’s still the added bonus of actually getting to go out and trick-or-treat, he added.

Since its inception more than 15 years ago, CANS has transitioned from being a student-run organization to receiving help from Woodside Bible Fellowship Church in Elmira. With the combined efforts, more than 60 volunteers will be helping out CANS this year to collect donations in the community.  On the night of Halloween volunteers will be going door-to-door in the Elmira area to collect items for the food bank, including the likes of canned vegetables, peanut butter and other non-perishable items.

In addition to collecting donations this year, Allison is learning the ropes of CANS through his neighbour who will be passing on his role to the 14-year-old next year. From contacting the food bank to organizing the donations, Allison is looking forward to his new opportunity to help in the community.

Last year CANS was able to bring in 4,000 pounds of food donations, with Allison hoping to exceed that goal this time out.

“It would be great if we did that again or even more than that, but however much the community is willing to give is how much we’ll give to the food bank. So it’s really up to everyone else,” he said.

It’s never too late to volunteer with CANS this year, he added.

“I’m trying to get as many people to volunteer as possible, because the more volunteers we have the more food we can collect.”

With Halloween just one week away, it’s time to prepare those food donations that will be collected by CANS volunteers. If any household is missed during Halloween night and is looking to donate some items, they can contact the church to arrange a pick-up from a CANS volunteer. Any people interested in volunteering can reach out to Ben Allison at 226-792-3924 or call Woodside church at 519-669-1296.

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Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
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