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Forget Trick or Treat – it’s Trick or Eat for London’s food banks

Londoners are turning Halloween on its head this year – encouraging a more philanthropic approach from trick or treaters.

Organisers of Trick or Eat, which is taking place across Hackney and Walthamstow, are keen to shift the focus of Halloween away from banging on doors and asking for food towards leaving donations for local food banks.

Households around each borough will feature on the Trick or Eat Trail map – they’ll leave collection boxes outside – gathering tins of food and longlife milk for people experiencing hardship. Last year’s Trick or Eat collected four lorries full of food (five tonnes) for Hackney Foodbank and it’s hoped the event will catch on in other neighbourhoods.

Organiser Jenna Fansa of the Local Buyers Club added: “I love Halloween and our kids love getting dressed up but we wanted to do something to shift the focus so that, as well as having fun trick or treating, we teach our children to help people experiencing hardship.

“Sending children out to ask for sweets when so many people can’t afford basic staple foods has always made me feel a bit uneasy, so this event aims to turn Halloween on its head. Food banks are having a horrific time – stocks are low and demand is rising so we hope we can once again come together as a community to help bolster supplies."

Food collected via Trick or Eat will go to Hackney Food Bank and PL84U AL-SUFFA food bank in Walthamstow. With food and fuel prices rising, furlough coming to an end, evictions happening again and Universal Credit being reduced, food bank workers say things are looking bleak.

Tanya Whitfield, Operations and General Manager of Hackney Food Bank, said: “We are feeding around 1,000 people a week. Last year when we saw just how much food had been donated through Trick or Eat it made me cry – the Local Buyers Club team works so hard to make it happen. It was just amazing and we’re delighted it’s happening again this year.

“As the evenings start to get colder and darker a lot of parents are struggling – it’s a choice between giving the kids a bath, putting the heating on or giving them food and that’s not ok.

“No-one should have to queue for food – everyone should be able to go and choose what to eat and drink. We are feeding as many people now as we were a year ago and it’s looking bleak.”

Saira Mir, founder of PL84U Al-Suffa said: “We’re feeding around 5,600 people every month. There are a lot of referrals coming in and a lot of walk-ins. The need for food parcels is high locally so this collection couldn’t be better timed.”

Find out more about Trick or Eat or follow the Trail at

JOIN THE LOCAL BUYERS CLUB with the code TRICKOREAT for half price and they'll donate £5 to a local food bank.

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