By Gord Bowes, News staff
Don’t be surprised to see some big kids at the door of your east Mountain home this Halloween.
Students from Sherwood Secondary School will be going door to door asking for food bank donations as part of a new initiative.
They’ve set a modest goal of collecting 5,000 pounds of food from community donations and items students bring to school to hand over to Living Rock and Neighbour to Neighbour.
It was a trip to Living Rock, which provides assistance and programs to youth at risk, and this year’s Me to We conference that got social justice and spirit club students thinking about what has become “Sherwood Scares Hunger.”
Rebecca Sampson said until visiting Living Rock in September she and other students didn’t grasp what it was like to live in poverty as many other teens do. They were shown how difficult it is to plan for a month of expenses with just a $600 Ontario Works cheque in hand.
“We didn’t ever have to think about that,” said Sampson.
“It was nice to know we would have a place to go if we ever needed help,” added Abigail Slack.
Evan Miholics said to many students, comfortable in their middle or upper class lives, the idea of poverty seemed like something that happens in the Third World, not in Hamilton.
“There are issues that are close to home,” he said.
Sherwood’s campaign is based on one St. Thomas More students have been running on the west Mountain every Halloween night for the past 14 years. They learned about More’s Halloween For Hunger success at this year’s Me to We conference in Toronto. On the Go train back from the event, several students and teacher-advisor Dina Reda talked about what Sherwood could do.
“From that, we were inspired to run one ourselves,” said Maira Matin.
Student Will Redgate said it’s taken a lot of work and co-operation to get Sherwood Scares Hunger this far.
The initiative is starting small, with probably only 40 to 50 students hitting the streets this year, but they hope to grow it year by year and are going to train younger students to ensure it continues.
Students will be assigned routes early next week. They’ll deliver flyers to homes on their route ahead of the collection, then pick up the donations on Halloween night.
They’ll be recognizable with the Sherwood Scares Hunger and identification badges.
Based on the students who signed up early on, the areas targetted will likely be the neighbourhood immediately surrounding Sherwood, some streets in the Mohawk-Upper Gage area and around Paramount Drive in upper Stoney Creek in the Billy Green elementary school catchment area.