According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 6 cents can buy water for a thirsty child. One dollar can immunize a child against measles for life. Two dollars feeds three children for a day.
The International Programs Center at the University of Oklahoma is mobilizing student organizations, OU faculty and staff, and the Noble Public Schools to collect spare change in UNICEF's orange boxes on Halloween night to help needy children globally.
"I remember collecting nickels and dimes for UNICEF when I used to trick-or-treat," said Zach Messitte, vice provost for International Programs and the executive director of the IPC. "There is nothing like getting loads of candy on Halloween, and carrying an orange box for UNICEF is a perfect way for young people to give something back to less fortunate children around the world."
The orange "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" boxes will be distributed around campus, and there will be tables in Oklahoma Memorial Union and outside the Bizzell Memorial Library during the week before Halloween.
Volunteers from fraternities and sororities also are expected to trick-or-treat around campus for UNICEF on Halloween. The IPC also will host a Halloween party in Hester Hall for the children of faculty and staff on the afternoon of Oct. 31. The IPC has set a goal of raising $3,000 this year.
George Washington University and Cornell University were the only schools in the United States to reach this level of contribution in 2006. The International Programs Center will be collecting orange box contributions through Nov. 15.
"I think it is extremely important to help children overseas," said Franz Zentero, OU senior and president of OU's International Advisory Council, which is coordinating the student push for UNICEF. "It is not fair that there are many kids in the world who go to war instead of school. Too many children don't get enough to eat or have clean water to drink. This is something that OU students can help change."
Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF began in 1950, when kids in Philadelphia collected $17 in decorated milk cartons to help children left vulnerable by World War II. American trick-or-treaters now raise more than $5 million every Halloween. UNICEF's mission is to provide long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. In 2005, half of the contributions went to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. A voluntarily funded agency, UNICEF relies on contributions from governments and private donors.
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