Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat for Unicef

The stores are filled with costumes from the goulish to the silly. Families have purchased bags of candies, and then tried to hide them from the kids (as well as mom and dad) so that there will be some left for the trick-or-treaters. Parties and pranks are being planned. There is no way to avoid it -- Halloween is tommorow.

But we'd like to remind you of another Halloween tradition, one that parents may remember from their own childhoods -- the little orange containers, often milk containers from school lunch trays, covered in printed paper, with holes cut into the top for coins. We used to push them forward, "Trick or treat for UNICEF", we'd mumble, and obliging grownups would drop a coin or two into our collection box. We knew we were collecting money for "poor kids" but probably couldn't tell you a lot more than that about the process.

UNICEF -- originally created as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund  -- was founded in 1946 to help the children of Europe in the aftermath of World War II. Now operating in 191 countries, it has programs in areas such as education, children's rights and gender equality, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and environmental interventions, such as safe drinking water. It's worth a look at their website to see the scope of their work and the good that they do.

So, set up a bowl of coins next to the bowl of candy near the front door. Make sure your kids have their orange collection box. And take a moment or two to educate them about why they are collecting coins and how UNICEF helps children around the world. It's a lesson that will help them appreciate how much they have and how much they can work with others to help children who are not as fortunate as they are. Happy Halloween!

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