In the 2010 campaign, 21,000 homes on the west and central mountain of Hamilton were canvassed. In 2011, that number grew to 23,000 as maps were reduced to make the routes smaller. Each route contains about 85 homes.
Halloween for Hunger is a Free the Children initiative and is run in various schools across North America. To date, 43 Catholic high schools in Canada have signed up. But according to Free the Children, two years ago the campaign at St. Thomas More
accounted for one-third of all Halloween for Hunger proceeds.
Students, in groups of four plus a driver, start heading out to collect the food around 5:30 p.m. By 7:30, the More cafeteria starts to look like a busy terminal with students constantly coming and going, dropping off food from one neighbourhood and heading out to collect from another.
The event features a carnival-like atmosphere as many of the students are dressed in Halloween costumes. Boxes and bags of food are scattered across the floor to be sorted and a small mountain of food boxes begins to grow along one wall of the cafeteria.
Instead of asking for candy on Halloween night, students at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton go trick-or-treating for non-perishable food items.
2011 marked the school‘s 12th annual Halloween for Hunger campaign to raise money for the Neighbour to Neighbour Centre, with a goal of collecting a record-breaking 70,000 pounds of food. Planning for the annual event begins the previous summer, and a concert to kick it off is held at the school shortly before Halloween.
Flyers announcing the annual collection of canned goods and other non-perishable food items go out to neighbourhoods a week earlier. On Halloween night hundreds of St. Thomas More students wearing Halloween for Hunger buttons return to those neighbourhoods to collect the food.
The food is stored in the school cafeteria and then delivered to Neighbour to Neighbour Centre the next day, via an HSR bus. Halloween for Hunger provides the single largest donation to the west Mountain food bank each year, keeping its shelves stocked for about a month. Students realize their work is im-portant as there are more than 1,200 families affected by pov-erty in their neighbourhood, which translates to about 4,500 children.
Hallowe‘en for Hunger was awarded the YMCA Peace Medal Award in 2009