WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla High School Senior Alicen Freeman doesn't care to sit at home during a perfectly good holiday. She tried it several years ago after her parents told her she was too old to trick-or-treat.
Determined not to miss out again, Freeman decided to collect cans of food during the traditionally candy-centric holiday.
"I think I heard the Food Pantry was low or something," Freeman said. "That's how it originated with me."
Freeman and a friend, when they were both sophomores, decided to collect cans of food to donate to her church.
"We basically went around my grandmother's neighborhood," Freeman said. "I think we gathered 100 cans."
Freeman quickly spotted a logistical miscalculation in her plan: The cans were too heavy to carry home, and Freeman had to call her parents to help pick up the donated food.
"The next year we were a little smarter," Freeman said. "We used a wagon. But it was an old wagon. This year we're going to use cars."
According to Freeman, she and five friends managed to collect 200 cans of food last year. This year she plans a much bigger improvement.
Freeman has passed out fliers to every school in the Walla Walla School District, and several schools in College Place.
She is also talking to friends and classmates, and expects a big turnout.
"Stock up on canned food," Freeman warned Walla Walla and College Place residents. "You're not just going to have kids after candy this year."
Freeman has also organized a drop-off place at College Place Presbyterian Church for people who would like to donate canned food. The donated food will then be picked up and distributed by Blue Mountain Action Council to area food banks.
"I think people are excited about it," Freeman said. "I'm not really sure what the potential could be. I haven't really thought about it."
Freeman, who plans to attend college next year, hopes the event will catch on, becoming a regular feature of Halloween in Walla Walla.
"Somebody might take it over," Freeman said hopefully.
Luke Hegdahl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For anyone wanting to participate, food can be dropped off at College Place Presbyterian Church on Monday from 9-10:30 p.m. and on Tuesday from 1-5 p.m. The church is at 325 N.E. Damson Ave. in College Place.