Trick or Treat for Canned Goods 2019 and UIS Cares

Photograph courtesy of Giang (Thomas) Nguyen

Traditionally people dress up in costumes and go from house to house to collect candy on Halloween. A much-loved UIS tradition sprung from this concept but included a charitable twist. Every year on Halloween, the UIS volunteer center partners with the Central Illinois Foodbank to collect food items for the food bank. Throughout the week, students went through various neighborhoods, told people about the event, and placed fliers on doors. Then, on Halloween, during standard trick-or-treating hours, the students would go back to these neighborhoods to collect any non-perishable food items or toiletries that the residents wished to donate.

This year saw some of the weirdest weather central Illinois has ever experienced on Halloween. For the first time ever, there was more than an inch of snow on the ground on Halloween in Springfield. This did not stop the students from going out and participating in this food drive. For hours, students collected goods and brought them to the school. From there, they were weighed, recorded, packaged, and shipped them to the food bank. By the end of the night, around two hundred students collected a total of around fifteen thousand pounds of food (seven and a half tons!). Of this, fourteen thousand were sent to the Central Illinois Foodbank for distribution across Central Illinois while the last one thousand pounds were kept on campus and sent to the UIS Cares Food Pantry.

UIS Cares is UIS’ very own food pantry that serves the campus student body. Located towards the back of the Student Affairs Building on the Legacy side of campus, this food pantry is open to all UIS students. All students are welcome, and the only information that is asked of the student is their UIN for the purpose of monitoring how many people are using the food pantry. Students go in on their own time, no appointment necessary, take whatever food they feel they need and at whatever quantity, and then leave. There are no forms or anything to fill out and there is very little hassle. UIS Cares is open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, 5 to 7 on Thursdays, and 1 to 5 on Fridays. Any student who could use the help provided by the pantry is encouraged to us it as often as they deem necessary.