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Halloween for the Hungry prepares for annual event

Published: October 16, 2014
Section: Front Page, News


Each year, Halloween holds a different meaning for the students in Hunger and Homelessness, a subgroup of Waltham Group. The group members are currently coordinating their annual event called “Halloween for the Hungry,” which enables Brandeis students to participate in an opportunity to give back to the community through direct service work.

Rather than trick-or-treat for candy, these volunteers go door-to-door in Waltham and ask for donations of nonperishable food. Once collected, the food is donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank.

“Some students opt to dress up, some go with roommates, while others join their fellow club members, but they all make an impact and enjoy some candy on the side,” said Lucas Malo, the director of community service at Brandeis.

Malo believes the Waltham community sincerely appreciates the volunteers and is grateful for their efforts. He says the event is also a great platform to raise awareness for poverty in the city and inspires others to support the cause.

Last year, Halloween for the Hungry was able to collect over 3,500 canned goods and nonperishable items, and the group hopes to collect 4,500 cans by the end of this Halloween, which is predicted to be enough for 3,375 meals. This year, the program is partnering with the Department of Community Living, Student Activities, Student Events and several other on-campus groups for the event.

Lauryn Garner ’15, one of the student coordinators from Hunger & Homelessness, spoke about how the event is exciting for both the volunteers and those whom they help.

“This event is super fun and easy. Not only do volunteers get to dress up and collect candy, but they also get to do something good for those in need,” said Garner.

Garner and her fellow coordinators have been planning this event since the middle of September. They formed a team of volunteers to help them with the planning process and claim they have received great support from all coordinators of Waltham Group, many of whom will help during the event by driving BranVans. Not only is Garner excited about the event itself, but she also is looking forward to the day after when the Greater Boston Food Bank comes by with their truck to pick up the collected food.

“This is the moment that I always remember for this event, since it’s clear we are making a huge impact in the lives of those who are food insecure,” she said. After the pick-up, the food bank counts how many pounds of food the group collected and equates that to how many meals the food can provide. Garner says knowing that they are able to provide thousands of meals to those in need is truly a special experience.

By Halloween for the Hungry’s 30th anniversary in 2016, both Garner and Malo would like to see an even bigger event take place.
“Some ideas include partnering with Waltham High School to cover more ground and have a shared experience,” said Malo. “Perhaps involving Brandeis faculty and their families and kids to join in on the celebration.”

However, it is the volunteers who make the event a success each year. Interested students can sign up in groups or individually online, and Garner and her team are also available by email.