“Trick or Eat” usually brings in anywhere from 4,000-40,000 pounds of food every year, the food bank said. It sees university students dress up in costumes and go door-to-door collecting items on Oct. 31.
The food bank said it was cancelled this year by the Central Student Association (CSA) due to uncertainty surrounding the provincial government’s student choice initiative.
It was introduced by the Doug Ford government in January and gave students the option to opt-out of fees deemed non-essential, including ones that fund student-run organizations on campus.
“The CSA and the different university groups weren’t sure how much funding they were going to get, so they decided to suspend the Trick or Eat program this year,” Guelph Food Bank spokesperson Pauline Cripps said.
She said they’re hoping it will be back next year.
Making matters worse, this year the food bank fell short of its a 90,000-pound goal during their Thanksgiving food drive.
“We came in at just over 71,000 pounds of food, which is amazing, but it is still shy of our goal, which is set to carry us through until the Christmas season,” Cripps said.
She said this is one of their peak seasons with two holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — along with students heading back to school.
“So parents are now having to get back into the habit of preparing and cooking for that as well,” Cripps said.
She added that underemployment and the cost of living are some of the big issues impacting Guelph and they are seeing anywhere from two to 10 new registrations every day.
“We really wish we could be put out of business, but we don’t see that happening anytime soon and the numbers are increasing each year,” Cripps said.
The food bank is hoping residents will drop off donations to them directly, at local grocery stores or at any fire hall.
They will also be set up at the Guelph Storm game on Sunday, collecting donations at all of the gate entrances.
Cripps said their biggest needs right now are canned meats, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned pasta sauce, canned soup, Kraft Dinner, peanut butter, cold cereal, baby formula and diapers.
They also accept cash, cheques and donations online.