Trick-or-treat for a cause

Samantha Garvey, Roving Editor Ω

Most students at TRU may never know what it is like to go hungry. For some, they go day to day trying to maintain the busy life of a student without the resources for the most basic necessity of life.

This year the Kappa Sigma fraternity at TRU will once again host the Trick-or-Eat fundraiser on Halloween, when volunteers go door-to-door and ask for non-perishable food item donations.

According to Food Banks Canada, 867,948 Canadians relied on food banks in 2011. In Kamloops, 6,810 residents used the local food bank including 804 children, according to the Kamloops Food Bank website.

TRU has its own food bank through the students union as well as its own population of people in need.

“For a specific period of time in early January we were essentially scrambling to purchase food,” TRUSU’s executive director Nathan Lane told The Omega last February, indicating students had been turned away. According to him, the students union had been expecting a contribution from the campaign.

But there was a mix-up and the TRUSU Food Bank didn’t receive its expected donation.

“I’m making sure … we’re definitely giving to the TRUSU Food Bank (this year),” said Kevin Hendricks, Kappa Sigma’s grand master and second-year bachelor of business administration student. He added he wasn’t sure what the percentage would be.

Last year the event raised  $22,000 in donations, up from $16,000 in 2010 when Kappa Sigma first hosted the drive. The goal this year is $30,000 in combined online donations and door-to-door contributions (which are counted as two dollars per pound of food).

For Hendricks, the feeling of going hungry is a recent memory.

“I know what it’s like as a student to go hungry and wait till pay day, or to not have a pay day coming,” Hendricks said. “There’s been times when I had five packs of Mr. Noodles and six days till pay day.”

For several years, the Kappa Sigma team always had the most members participate on Halloween night and usually came back with largest donation from trick-or-treating. After 2009, the fraternity was asked if it would take on the leadership role. Hendricks explained that community service is an integral part of the group and they happily accepted.

“It’s a nice opportunity to give back to community that has given us so much,” Hendricks said. “And to show we’re not what you see in the movies.”

Along with fellowship, leadership and scholarship, service is one of the four pillars of Kappa Sigma, which began at TRU in 2004 and became official in 2006. It is part of the larger network of 282 chapters and 250,000 past and present members.

Hendricks became a brother in 2010 and has felt the camaraderie of the group ever since.

“I’ve never had a day that I didn’t eat (because) the boys wouldn’t let that happen,” he said, adding his fraternity-brother roommates would take him directly to the grocery store. “They’d say, ‘Dude, why didn’t you ask?’”

Nine teams have already registered but organizers will be accepting people all the way to the date. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Thompson Hotel downtown at 4 p.m. and will be collecting until 9 p.m.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Hendricks said. “It’s fulfilling.”

For more information or to register to volunteer, visit trickoreat.ca.