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North End centre desperate for donations for Safe Halloween

Donations are needed to meet the high demand of trick-or-treaters in the North End. The Indian and Métis Friendship Centre says candy donations are down for their annual Safe Halloween event this year.

Indian and Métis Friendship Centre will not give candy to kids over 12 to help meet demand

Indian and Métis Friendship Centre executive director Rick Lavallee says donations are still needed for the annual Safe Halloween event to meet the high demand of trick-or-treaters in the North End. (Gary Solilak)

Donations of candy are needed to meet the high demand of trick-or-treaters in the North End.

The annual Safe Halloween event at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre doesn't have enough treats for the number of kids expected to come to the party.

"We're still short candy for about 1,200 kids," said executive director Rick Lavallee.
Candy donations are badly needed in the North End to meet the high demand of trick or treaters for Halloween this year. 1:32

They had long lineups last year and had to turn kids away because they ran out of candy, he said.

"It was about 2,200 kids that we had come in last year, so that's quite a bit and it increases annually, so we definitely need those donations," said Lavallee.

To help meet the increasing demand, staff will only hand out candy to kids age two to 12 this year.

"Well, last year we had a whole lot of teens coming in here, so we're going to focus on the younger kids this time," Lavallee said, adding teenagers tried a little trickery to get free goodies.

"There were things like [teenagers] trying to go out the back door, and then they switch jackets and come back in the front door again, so things like that, but you know, we have more volunteer staff this time, so they can't fool us," Lavallee said.

This year, they will also have extra security and candy packaged in bags that kids can pick up easily when they go through the doors, instead of staff handing out individual candies to every child or parent, he said.

Winnipeg Harvest will donate healthy snacks as they do every year, but more donations are needed because of the increase in new Canadians who have moved into the area over the past year, he said.

"There's a whole lot of new landed immigrants and they're welcome to our Friendship Centre," Lavallee said. "It's going to be nice for a lot of those kids to experience Halloween, and some for the first time.
Donations are needed to meet the high demand of trick-or-treaters in the North End. The Indian and Métis Friendship Centre says candy donations are down for their annual Safe Halloween event this year. 1:00

"We also have a Harvest food bank here on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and I would say that about 25 per cent of the folks that use our services are new Canadians," Lavallee said.

The annual Safe Halloween event began after a triple shooting in Winnipeg's North End in 2010. The goal was to help bring families together and help kids feel safe in their community.

"It is a high crime area, and it's paramount that the kids are safe at Halloween."

Donation letters have been mailed to businesses in the community and the centre is also accepting cash donations from the public.

Donations can be dropped off at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre at 45 Robinson St. between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.