Halloween brings a special seasonal flair. Spices, hot cider and a warm hearth light the senses. For over 50 million food-insecure Americans, though, these festivities are less of a given. This motivated Brad Schmitz (Social Work, ’01) to turn a Halloween-themed food drive from his time at Boise State University into a tradition to help fight food insecurity. It’s called “Trick-or-Eat.”
“It started with a few college students,” Schmitz said. “Must have been Halloween of ’99 or 2000. We would go out to collect canned foods in Boise, have a barbeque, and then we would donate the rest of the food to help feed farm-working families throughout the rest of the winter.”Brad Schmitz
The idea behind Trick-or-Eat is to collect canned foods on Halloween, the single night when Americans nationwide greet their neighbors with open doors, excited to give — and to treat. It started with a few students at Boise State, one of them Schmitz. Now a teacher in Anchorage, Alaska, Schmitz continues the event in his home communities. Since reviving Trick-or-Eat for Halloween of 2016, it has spread to span throughout the entire month of October. Since then, the event has collected over 8,300 pounds of food to support those who need it.
Trick-or-Eat saw its greatest success this previous October, in 2022. Food barrels, 45 in total, placed across the Alaskan locales of Anchorage, Kenai, Soldotna, and in Boise, Idaho, gathered over 5,900 pounds of food with the help of schools, businesses and churches. Nine hundred pounds of Trick-or-Eat’s total came from a partnership with Borah High School in Boise.
This Halloween, Trick-or-Eat returns to Boise State.
Throughout October, Boise State’s Student Philanthropy Board encourages students, faculty, alumni and all friends of Boise State to “Trick-or-Eat,” collecting canned donations to bring to the themed bins scattered across various locations on campus, like at the Student Union Building, Albertsons Library, or directly to the Boise State Campus Food Pantry, to help students in need. You can also support the Campus Food Pantry by making a cash donation here.
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