Old Perlican boy helps food bank on Halloween
Type 1 diabetes diagnosis makes candy a no-no for Reagan Hopkins
Reagan Hopkins knew he wasn’t going to trick or treat for candy this year after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Fortunately, the 11-year-old from Old Perlican came up with an alternative plan to dress up and have some fun, while also helping others.
OLD PERLICAN, NL — A scary skeleton roamed the streets of Old Perlican last Tuesday night, knocking on doors demanding cans of food from those who answered.
Truthfully, the intentions of the boy wearing this skeleton costume on Halloween were far from sinister. Reagan Smith was doing a good deed, spending the night collecting nonperishable food items he later donated to a food bank in Lower Island Cove.
An 11-year-old Grade 6 student at Tricon Elementary, Hopkins was diagnosed a few months ago with Type 1 diabetes. Knowing he would not be able to trick or treat like he did in years past, a new idea struck him one day during math class.
“Well, my friends were asking me since I was a diabetic, they asked me what I was going to do with the food,” Reagan explained to the Compass. “I was joking with them that I was going to bring (the candy) to them.”
He then recalled a food drive his Grade 5 class did last year with the help of teacher Catherine Hicks. Having also watched TV reports about food banks running low on food, Reagan decided collecting donations on Halloween might help out.
Word got around the community in advance of Oct. 31, and on Halloween Reagan went door-to-door in Old Perlican with his mother Yvonne tagging along in a vehicle to transport the goods. They were out for over three hours.
“And my friends were very supportive, and my community was really supportive too,” said Reagan, who managed to collect enough food to just about fill two shopping carts.
“A lot of people were saying, ‘That’s such a good thing you’re doing,’ and they were hugging me,” he added with a little chuckle.
Last Thursday, Reagan brought the donated goods to the His Hand Extended Food Bank in Lower Island Cove, which is administered by the local Salvation Army Corps and serves an area stretching from Kingston to Bay de Verde. According to Lt. Keith Barrett, the food bank assists 15-20 families monthly.
“A lot of people find themselves in need this time of year,” Keith told the Compass. “It doubles at Christmas, and we’re quickly advancing to that season, so … receiving a call from Reagan saying he was willing to donate the goods that he collected to the Salvation Army food bank here in Lower Island Cove means a great deal to this shore. We appreciate it.”
At this food bank, there’s a consistent need for pasta sauce and pasta (a combo that creates an instant meal), soup and cereal. Reagan’s food drive managed to cover all those items, along with juice.
And my friends were very supportive and my community was really supportive too. — Reagan Hopkins
Lt. Charlene Barrett, left, of the Lower Island Cove Salvation Army Corps follows Reagan Hopkins with a load of nonperishable food items the 11-year-old boy collected on Halloween.
From left, Philip Barrett, Reagan Hopkins, Lt. Charlene Barrett and Lt. Keith Barrett with the food Reagan collected going door-to-door in Old Perlican this Halloween.
Reagan Hopkins chose to dress as a skeleton for Halloween this year.