Trick or Eat Kicks off This Friday

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Written by Caroline Elworthy

This Friday at 4pm in the University Courtyard, the annual Trick-Or-Eat will begin, providing students with the opportunity to become more involved in the food insecurity issues which face the larger Guelph community.

Instead of collecting the usual Halloween items, participants will be bussed out for the University centre to various Guelph neighbourhoods and collect door-to-door perishable goods donations, raising awareness and donations for the Guelph Food Bank and the Meal Exchange initiative.

This free event is open to the public. Students are encouraged to dress up and register with a team, class or group of friends. To make this event more student friendly in terms of scheduling, there will be two rounds of trick-or-eating happening this year; the first bus scheduled to leave the UC Loop at 5pm, followed by another bus at 6:30pm. The opening ceremonies will begin at 4pm in the University Courtyard with inspiring performances scheduled by Ramsay Almighty and DJ Scratchez. Participants will then again be dropped off at the University Centre at the end of the event.

The Trick or Eat initiative has grown into nation-wide event, originating from right here in Guelph as part of the Meal Exchange Program which strives to engage students in combating hunger within their community and campus. Two decades ago when the initiative was just underway, Guelph was the approached to be the first chapter to take on the “pilot program” of Trick or Eat, and evidently it has become a huge success.

“We're really hoping for a large group this year. Last year we had about 450 participants, but this year we're planning on having 1000 participants” says Sarah Hafuth one of the prominent organizers for this year’s event.

The Trick-or-Eat initiative raises awareness and collects food for the Guelph Food Bank and Meal Exchange, organizations which combat food insecurity within the community. The Guelph Food Bank supports the community by offering long and short term solutions for their clients, eventually aspiring to equip community members with the confidence and skills to stand on their own. Meal Exchange is run by the Central Student Association on campus, and offers students an efficient way of  making a direct contribution to their campus and larger community, as each dollar donated either through cash donation or meal plan credit will equal to one meal for a community member.  Meal Exchange has become a nation-wide student run initiative in over 45 chapters nation-wide, and Guelph is proud to have developed into one of the most successful chapters.  Last year students donated $22000 in one semester, the highest amount collected nation wide

“Student involvement is very much a necessity for communities to continue to thrive and promote connectedness and a sense of interconnectedness," says Hafuth.

 “It's important to continue to recognize the issues beyond our university microcosm, and to promote unity, as well as bridge the gaps, between permanent residents of Guelph and those that only reside there for the school year. This is perfect opportunity to spark conversation about what it means to be food insecure, and how food insecurity is an umbrella term that many of us can fall under." says Hafuth.

Although the threat of food insecurity may seem that it does not affect the secure bubble of Canada’s government supported social welfare programs, over 1.7 million Canadian households experience food insecurity. In an individualistic sense this translates to mean that over 4 million individuals, including 1.7 million children who currently do not have access or the means to acquire affordable and nutritious food.

Looking specifically into the community of Guelph, there are an estimated 18781 insecure residents, with over 5454 of them  being under the age of 15, and 2755 being seniors over the age of 65. Evidently, the problem of food security is not far from our doorstep, and it is simply upon us to recognise our due diligence as citizens and compassionate human beings. No matter if we are temporary or permanent residents of this community there is no excuse for not being an engaged and aware member of the community. We are the generation that will inherit and be expected to continue on these communities and cities, and therefore as students of post-secondary education we need to recognize our privilege and responsibility and act accordingly. 

For those interested in taking part of the Trick or Eat event this Friday, registration will begin at 4pm in the UC with the opening ceremonies beginning at 4:30pm. Live music will begin shortly after 4:30 with performances by Ramsay Almightyand Dj Scratchez. Busses leaving to Trick-or-Eat will leave the UC bus loops at 5:00pm and again at 6:30pm. For more information, or to register your team online visit at www.trickoreat.ca and register under The University of Guelph.  

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