Trick Or Treating For Charity

SF kids ask for non-perishable items instead of candy to donate them to Feeding SD

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – While most kids were asking for candy this Halloween, another group took a different spin on this tradition, asking their neighbors for non-perishable food items. And it wasn’t to spare them from cavities.

In Jack Hilgenberg’s trick or treat bag, or wagon, you won’t find Snickers, Nerds or Twizzlers, instead, cereal and canned food.

“I love giving back, there are people who are less fortunate than me,” says Jack.

For the fourth year in a row, the 13-year-old, dressed up as a shark, has made it his mission to collect these items and donate them to the local food pantry.

“That way we can end hunger,” says Jack. “I don’t like seeing people around the country, around town not having enough food.”

The task takes a bit of preparation. Earlier in the month, Jack handed out letters to nearly 50 neighbors asking them to donate the items to him.

“I did have to go buy some, but that’s okay,” laughs Gracia Gillespie who lives next door to Jack. “It’s really great for kids to want to do that, and it’s a really good cause.”

Like the number of items in his wagon, the number of people helping Jack has grown.

“I thought it was a cool idea, so I decided to join him,” says Rikhav Thakkar, Jack’s friend since kindergarten.

Collecting the items isn’t easy. Rikhav says, “three or four times were going to have to re-fill them and come back out multiple times.”

That’s not stopping the professional basketball player for the day to devoting Halloween to others, though.

“Even in just our backyard, in South Dakota there’s so many people struggling to get food, so I just thought it would be really good to help out,” says Rikhav.

And don’t worry; these teens aren’t missing out on the candy.

“My sister, she goes around and trick or treats too and she’s nice, she shares,” says Jack.

“Halloween candy, I’m not really a fan anyway,” adds Rikhav.

The first year Jack and his family collected non-perishables, they ended up with 221 lbs. of food. The second year, they rounded up 753 lbs., and the third 788 lbs. So without counting this year, the kids’ efforts have provided 1,468 meals to those in need.

Jack has created a Facebook page, he hopes this page will encourage others do to the same next year.

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