When most people think of Halloween, the first things that come to mind are costumes and candy. For Ian Mitchell King, a dedicated philanthropist and Rotarian who spends a great deal of his time working with socioeconomically individuals of all ages and walks of life, his first thoughts are of charitable programs and opportunities that can make a difference in the lives of those he works with. He offers advice on some of the best ways to help the needy before, during, and after Halloween.
Food banks can use candy to donate to parents with children and seniors who would otherwise be unable to take part in Halloween trick or treating, Ian Mitchell King points out, noting that Feeding America’s food banks serve about 14 million children and three million seniors every single year. At the same time, King is quick to note that candy, while appreciated at this time of year, isn’t the only thing local food banks need. Inflation has taken a bite out of many people’s income, and food bank lines are getting longer than ever. A whopping 72% of food banks say they do not feel they can meet their communities’ needs without adjusting the amount of food they distribute. Along with candy donations, food banks also need canned goods, fresh produce, diapers, and baby formula. Alternatively, those who can’t afford to buy needed items for food banks can volunteer, giving their time to help food banks pick up, sort, and package donations.
Ian Mitchell King also explains that many cities and churches host free events for Halloween, and they often need volunteers to make these events successful. Those who want to donate their time and enjoy celebrating Halloween with others can usually find volunteer opportunities by looking online or calling venues hosting free events. Even those who aren’t accessible on Halloween itself may be able to help out beforehand, as some events are held before Halloween. In contrast, others need volunteers to help prepare for the event. There are also “Fall Festival” events that need to occur at this time of year for those who don’t celebrate Halloween. Event organizers often need volunteers to help before, during, and after the event. Ian Mitchell King explains that many of these events involve working with children and young people, but even those who don’t feel they have the skills needed for such work can still get involved by looking for programs to help the elderly during this time. Few elderly individuals get visits during the holiday season, and having a friendly, dressed-up character drop by to say hello and drop off some candy can provide them with needed encouragement and companionship.
Ian Mitchell King explains that the environment could also use some help during this time of the year. Over one billion pounds of pumpkins are tossed out each year; they decompose in dumps but, in the process, release methane that harms the environment and contributes to climate change. Methane emissions are even worse than cardoon dioxide emissions as they have 20 times the warming effect. Volunteers who want to make a difference can find or even organize their pumpkin collection program and spread the word to local neighborhoods, encouraging individuals to drop off their jack-o-lanterns at a collection point so they can be properly composted. Alternatively, one can spread the word about how to reuse old pumpkins by roasting the seeds, making pumpkin pie or pumpkin cookies, and more. It only takes a computer and a bit of free time to create awareness in the community and spark people’s interest in conservation.
Ian Mitchell King explains that Halloween isn’t the only time that help is needed in the community. Local non-profit organizations need donations and volunteers year-round for projects such as cleaning up waste, distributing food to needy families, picking up and sorting donations, visiting senior citizens, and more. King encourages those who volunteer or donate during Halloween to consider extending their involvement in non-profit work to the upcoming holiday season to ensure that everyone in the community meets their needs.
Ian Mitchell King has long been an advocate for volunteer and non-profit work. He inspires people to use their financial abilities and talents to help the needy in their community. He says there are plenty of organizations, people, and even animals in need of help, making it easy for just about anyone to find a cause they feel passionate about. Those who aren’t sure which projects they want to participate in can use the Halloween season to get to know some good projects in the area and find one they can work with long-term.