Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mary Emma Allison

How apropos that today's obits include Mary Emma Allison who created Trick or Treat for UNICEF.

The wife of a Presbyterian minister and a graduate of Wheaton, Mary Emma Allison, along with her husband, "decided to come up with a plan, centered on Halloween, by which American children might help less fortunate ones abroad." The origin story is quite wonderful:

Shortly after Halloween some 60 years ago, Mary Emma Allison and her children came upon a parade in downtown Philadelphia that included children in dress from nations all around the world. They followed the parade, which led them to a booth inside Wanamaker's department store. At that booth, donations were being collected for UNICEF's powdered-milk programs.

And that was the seed of the idea.

So ironic that in many Christian circles today, Halloween is seen as something to fear and shun. I love the fact that this woman decided instead to make it an opportunity to share and be generous. "Mary Emma knew children already collected treats on Halloween, but she and her family were determined to turn that collection into something bigger, something that could help the kids all over the world still struggling to recover from World War II."

Trick or Treat for UNICEF has been going on for 60 years now and has raised more than $160 million. "All on account of a thoughtful young woman who, driving through town on a long-ago autumn, opted to follow a children’s parade."

A blessed and generous Halloween to you.

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