Though kids in the US, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and Hong Kong trick or treat for UNICEF every year, the 80s were the last time children in the US collected pennies in bright little orange boxes during trick or treating with real feeling (I remember making “boxes” out of soup cans). UNICEF is the UN’s charity arm that benefits children in need around the world and in 1950 in a church Sunday School in Philadelphia the movement to involve children in helping other children began. Given little orange boxes with a slit in the top for coins either in school or in churches, children were encouraged to take the boxed with them as they trick or treated on Hallowe’en to ask for change. The boxes were turned in to school or church to send in to UNICEF. Up until 2005 these little boxes went to international causes; that year a portion of collections were used to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. To give you an idea of how much kid-power can actually do, since 1950 American kids have collected over $175 million.
In the 1990s collections began a downturn and in 2008 UNICEF began offering text, MySpace and Facebook collection options. in 2014 offered the ability for fundraisers to create personal fundraising pages through Crowdrise. While that’s nice and all, it seems like without those little boxes, the idea is kind of lost. And since trick or treating hasn’t slowed at all, we don’t see any reason why we can’t bring back those little orange boxes. In fact, if we started socking away the couch change in a UNICEF box the minute we saw Hallowe’en candy in the drug store (like, in August. I’m STILL looking at you, CVS), I think we’d be pulling in a hella lot more for UNICEF once we got to the actual collection day. After this last year of war and displacement, UNICEF’s need is greater than ever.
Here’s where you can get boxes for your group – ORDER UNICEF BOXES
Here’s where you can print out and assemble one for yourself – PRINT UNICEF BOXES