Tag Archives: Halloween

JFK’s Humanitarian Halloween

When Halloween came around in 1960 John F. Kennedy, while campaigning for president, came across a unique trick or treat event. This ghoulish party was not about collecting candy but instead raising money for the UN agency fighting child hunger and disease-UNICEF.

JFK loved it! Kennedy remarked at a shopping plaza in Willow Grove where the UNICEF party took place, “I think that is in the best tradition of this country’s humane and sympathetic effort.” Kennedy continued speaking about fighting hunger and disease in his short speech.

In fact, when JFK became president he even issued a statement from the White House in support of Halloween trick or treat for UNICEF. Kennedy said “UNICEF has caught the imagination of our people–especially our nation’s children whose Halloween collections have become a symbol of concern and an expression of tangible aid.”

See my full commentary at The History News Network:

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Newsweek Oped on Halloween and Feeding the Hungry

The National Retail Federation says Halloween spending on candy and costumes will reach 9.1 billion this year.

To put that in perspective, the U.S. Food for Peace program, which fights world hunger, normally gets around 1.5 billion in funding a year.

The U.S. McGovern-Dole program, which feeds hungry school children overseas, might get 200 million a year from Congress.

Now imagine if even just a portion of that 9.1 billion from Halloween went to feed the hungry. The ghost of Halloween’s past tells us it can.

See my full commentary at Newsweek.

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Displaced Iraqi child longs for sweets

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Halloween ushers in season of the silent guest

During the Halloween of 1947, plans were being made for the arrival of the “silent guest” into homes across America. It was not a horror movie, but just the opposite.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Halloween event seeks to scare off hunger

According to Feeding America, Spokane county’s rate of hunger is 15.4 percent. The child hunger rate exceed 22 percent. Food assistance is needed to give families that safety net as they struggle to escape poverty.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Halloween food drive shadowed by ghostly legend

But just a stone’s throw away from the festivities are the mysterious woods along the Ohio River. They have a ghostly tale of their own.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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Feeding America wants food drives for Halloween

It’s not too early to plan a bit for Halloween. You can feel it starting to get cooler outside. The night of ghouls and goblins will sneak up on us soon.

Read the article at Examiner.

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Halloween Can Feed the Hungry

This Halloween please remember the world's hungry (photo courtesy USA.gov)

This Halloween please remember the world’s hungry (photo courtesy USA.gov)

There is more to Halloween than you might think. Yes, it’s about monsters and ghouls, and the fear of the unseen. Do not let Halloween ‘trick” you though. Halloween is also the season of charity and feeding the hungry.

Where I live in Cincinnati is an old ghost legend at a cemetery near the Ohio River. A mysterious light would shine from this graveyard at night along with the eerie tune of a fiddler. No one dared to check it out.

A professor from the nearby College of Mount St. Joseph, Cecil Hale, did some “digging” and found out this “ghost” first appeared at the time of the Underground Railroad. This was the secret network which guided slaves to freedom in the north before the Civil War.

The strange light was likely a signal meant to guide slaves across the Ohio River. The creation of a ghost was meant to keep people away from the cemetery. This scary story was actually a cover for the most noble act of charity, giving the oppressed a light to freedom. This meant sending them to their next safe house on the Underground Railroad. The travelers on this Railroad were hungry and these stops along the route gave them food and renewed their strength to keep going.

Today, the ghosts and creatures of Halloween are huge business, with billions spent yearly on candy and costumes. The amount spent each year on Halloween could finance hunger relief missions in many countries around the world.

Since 1950, Halloween has added an extra surprise for those receiving trick or treaters. Many thousands of children have appeared at the door with a Halloween bag, not just for candy, but one to collect change for UNICEF. It all started when the Reverend Clyde Allison and his wife Mary Emma had an idea to turn Halloween into a night of charity.

Since that time more than 170 million dollars has been raised for UNICEF and its operations providing food, medicine and education to children in impoverished countries. Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is a Halloween tradition that saves lives.

Think about this. On Halloween night you could collect donations to feed starving children in Syria, South Sudan, Mali, Afghanistan, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries suffering from war.

Small children die every day because they cannot get the nutrition they need. UNICEF uses a miracle food called Plumpy’Nut to save their lives, but only if they have enough supply. Funding is often low for humanitarian aid missions because it’s not made a high enough priority.

That is where individuals can take the lead and the responsibility. There is even now chocolate and vanilla flavored bars you can purchase that lead to donations for Plumpy’Nut. The company This Bar Saves Lives makes a donation for each bar sold so Save the Children can distribute more Plumpy’Nut.

So on this Halloween night, you can make a change. You can experience the other side of Halloween, the one of charity. The College of Mount St. Joseph is hosting trick or treat events as well. Yes, there will be ghost stories, but also a canned good collection for the local Delhi Food Pantry. The school’s Campus Ministry, Student Nurses Association and the Activities Board are all pitching in to collect the donations.

It turns out this Halloween food drive is extra timely as food stamps are being reduced in the United States. The strain on food pantries is going to be enormous. The coming scare for America is going to be a further escalation of hunger in an already suffering economy.

Things are not always what they appear to be. Sometimes though you decide what something is to be. Your actions make the difference. Your ideas can give power to charity. On Halloween you can add an extra surprise to this “fright night,” making it a special event that helps the world.

Originally published at the Huffington Post.

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Charity Miles for Halloween!

Here is a video about Charity Miles for Halloween and below are some instructions on how you can use this tool to help feed the hungry. If you get through Halloween!

Here is a video and some instructions on how to use the free app Charity Miles to help raise funds for the World Food Programme, Feeding America and other charities while you walk, run or bike.  (courtesy Ekaterina Oshepkova of the World Food Programme)

How do I use the app Charity Miles?

1. Download the application at charitymiles.org

2. It will ask you to connect via Facebook. Note, without a Facebook account, you will not be able to use the application. Also, your GPS must be on. (most cell phones apparently already have this on)

3. When you are ready to exercise, select the charity in which you will be exercising for. You can do so by sliding the screen until you see WFP, which is the 10th charity.

4. Select, walk, run, or bike. The application will then start & track your distance.

5. When you are finished, or want to take a break, select stop.

6. If you wish to resume, select resume. If you are finished, select finish.

7. When you are finished with your exercise, the application will prompt you to accept sponsorship. Accept Sponsorship. If you do not accept sponsorship and allow a post to your Facebook wall, no money will be donated to the charity.

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On Halloween Remember the World’s Hungry

This Halloween please remember the world's hungry (photo courtesy USA.gov)

It’s Halloween 2011 and time for the Wolfman, Dracula, and other monsters and ghosts to have their one night of the year. And let’s not forget Egypt’s famous Halloween contribution, the Mummy, and a couple of creatures that have appeared in this column when they helped with fundraisers, the Mothman and the Yeti.

Halloween means lots of candy too! In fact billions of dollars are spent on Halloween festivities. But this year please take a silent guest with you when trick or treating, or at your Halloween party. You can help one of the world’s nearly one billion hungry who on Halloween, or any other day, will hope to get maybe one meal if they are lucky.

There are many ways that Halloween can be combined with fighting hunger. In fact, in 1947 students used Halloween not to collect treats but to collect canned goods for the Friendship Train that fed the hungry in war-torn Europe.

On Halloween night, maybe in place of one of the treats, you could ask for a dollar to buy a week’s worth of meals for a hungry child. You can send the dollar to food aid agencies like the World Food Programme, Save the Children, Feeding America, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services and others.

Or perhaps take a few minutes after coming home from trick or treating to play a few rounds of the online game Free Rice. For every correct answer you get, rice is donated to the hungry in developing countries.

There are many ways you can combine Halloween and fighting hunger. For this night is one of imagination. So the best ideas are to come: from you.

Article first published as On Halloween Remember the World’s Hungry on Blogcritics.

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