High school theater students will be going trick-or-treating for a little different reason this year, collecting food for those in need rather than candy.

High school theater students will be going trick-or-treating for a little different reason this year, collecting food for those in need rather than candy.

“Any time they can help others, they get to see that there are many people who are less fortunate than themselves,” said Susan Cooper, Blue Springs South theater teacher of the Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat Program. “They have the opportunity to look beyond themselves to see a need then help fill that need.”

Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat is a national community service program for member schools of the International Thespian Society, a division of the Educational Theatre Association. The goal is for schools to collect canned and dry goods for local charities and food banks.

The collection drive is scheduled during the week of Halloween because it is a time when many food banks are struggling to keep food on their shelves because food drives for Thanksgiving and Christmas have not yet begun.

Thespian Troupes participating include Blue Springs South, Lee’s Summit North, Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit West as well as Lee’s Summit Community Christian School. Students will be going door-to-door in certain neighborhoods collecting food Friday and Saturday evenings.

“This is a good project for any young person to connect with their community and give back,” said Shayne Daniel, theater teacher at Lee’s Summit North.

“They are giving and contributing directly to those in need in their immediate community. Teenagers often forget or don’t realize how blessed they may be in comparison to the world around them. This is an opportunity to get out of their immediate bubble and directly impact the lives of others in a real and positive way.”

Blue Springs South, which collected 450 pounds of food last year, is donating the items it collects to Valley View High School. The Lee’s Summit donations will go to Lee’s Summit Social Services and Greenwood Families Helping Families. Last year, the four schools combined collected more than 9,000 pounds of food.

“We have selected Valley View High School because most of these students are on free and/or reduced lunches. The only meals they often eat are breakfast and lunch at school,” Cooper said.

“Many times when they leave school there is nothing at home for them to eat till they come the next morning and have breakfast.

“They are trying to have a supply of food on hand to send home with them as a first line of defense in helping these families get aid from other community organizations.”