Trick or Eat losing steam?

By in Opinions

Oct. 31 marks the ninth year in which the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union Food Centre will facilitate Trick or Eat, a campaign geared towards food security in Canada. But, what makes a successful campaign? How do we keep people interested in charitable endeavours?

It’s hard to gauge, in the ever-evolving social world, how a movement might fare. As information about critical issues is more and more frequently shared and easily obtained, apathy emerges. The dropping numbers of participants in and donations to the Trick or Eat campaign at the U of S are concerning for the longevity and future success of this event.

Trick or Eat is a national day of action promoted by Meal Exchange, a Canadian student network that aims to support sustainable food systems across the country. During the event, groups are sent out into the community in costume with the goal to collect non-perishable food items for donation. The USSU Food Centre donates Trick or Eat acquisitions to the Saskatoon Food Bank.

In 2012, the USSU Food Centre recruited 250 volunteers who collected 7,500 pounds of food. The collective U of S team was the third largest in Canada and one of the nation’s top five donors. Last year’s results, however, were not so great. In 2016, the Food Centre recruited 150 volunteers who collected and donated about 5,000 pounds of food.

It’s important to consider how we are making our calls to action, and what that implies at present.

Food security is a concerning issue. According to Community Food Centres Canada, over 850,000 Canadians utilize community food agencies every month to receive emergency food supplies. While it might be hard for students to empathize with this social problem, the ease and accessibility of the Trick or Eat campaign should make it pretty appealing.

Trick or Eat is downright fun. When else can you, as a fully grown twenty-something person, go out with your friends in costume for some ego-boosting charity work? It’s almost a guarantee that community members will throw in some snack-sized candy bars for you among the canned goods.

The USSU Food Centre also offers prizes to outstanding groups. The best collectors each year receive the coveted Candy Cup, a giant trophy filled with treats to share among your team members.

Trick or Eat is easy and takes tradition to a brand new level, but perhaps its institutionalization in the U of S culture has made it easier to ignore. After nine years, it might be time to freshen up the initiative to ensure participation — but it’s also up to individuals to get informed.

Trick or Eat begins at 4 p.m. on Oct. 31. Teams can sign up online at ussu.ca/event/trick-or-eat/ or in person at the Food Centre.

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor