When I was little, my sister and I would sit down after trick-or-treating and would spread our candy all over the living room floor so that we could count and sort it. To this day, I cannot live down my reputation for telling my sister, who was two and a half years younger, that I would give her two Dum Dums if she gave me a Snickers. Not exactly an even exchange.
Which is why I was excited to learn about kids who are using Halloween for far better purposes than I was – to make a difference in the lives of children around the world through the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program. Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF started 60 years ago when a family in Pennsylvania started a nationwide movement to collect change while they were trick-or-treating to donate to vulnerable children around the world. By the next year, checks began to pour into UNICEF from trick-or-treaters across the U.S.
Today, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has raised close to $160 million dollars for UNICEF’s lifesaving programs and has gotten the attention of individuals ranging from President Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, to Kermit the Frog and Selena Gomez.
UNICEF works in 190 countries around the world to provide children with immunizations, school supplies, clean and safe drinking water, and better nutrition. UNICEF is also a member of the UN Adolescent Girls Task Force, and is a partner on each of the programs Girl Up supports. For example, UNICEF helps provide school supplies for girls to go to school in Liberia and makes it possible for girls like Hajira to participate in vocational training programs in Malawi.