Hal­loween hero

Six-year-old Ma­son Barter col­lects for the food bank when he goes trick or treat­ing

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY ROS­ALYN ROY

At six years old, Ma­son Barter is un­der­stand­ably shy with strangers. De­spite that, it’s easy to see he’s a happy, play­ful boy who, like most kids, en­joys Hal­loween.

But each year, in­stead of trick or treat­ing to earn him­self some treats, Ma­son gets dressed up and goes door-to-door col­lect­ing on be­half of the Sal­va­tion Army food bank.

He’s been do­ing it for a while now.

“A long time,” is his es­ti­mate. This year he col­lected in dis­guise as “Op­ti­mus Prime”.

This was ac­tu­ally the fifth year Ma­son has col­lected for the food bank ac­cord­ing to his mother, Michelle, who views the en­deavor as a teach­ing op­por­tu­nity.

Her niece, Ju­lia, par­tic­i­pated in a Hal­loween For Hu­man­ity drive while in high school.

“That was the first time it was ever done around here,” she said. “They col­lected for the food bank.”

Michelle’s not en­tirely clear how the dis­cus­sion went, just that she re­ally liked the idea.

“I said that would be a great thing to teach him,” she re­called.

Michelle oc­ca­sion­ally hears about Hal­loween For Hu­man­ity drives in other towns, but as far as she knows only Ma­son par­tic­i­pates in the Tav­erner Drive – Small­wood Drive sec­tion of Grand Bay West in Port aux Basques. The neigh­bour­hood has been truly sup­port­ive, with Michelle not­ing that the do­na­tions have con­tin­ued to in­crease ev­ery year.

“It’s kind of funny be­cause ev­ery­one knows it now,” says Michelle. “I’ll get mes­sages a cou­ple of weeks be­fore Hal­loween. ‘Are you still do­ing the food bank with Ma­son? I’ll get his bag ready.’ And stuff like that.”

Usu­ally Michelle just drops the do­na­tions off with­out any fuss, but this year for the first time her hus­band Paul and Ma­son de­liv­ered the boxes.

“He’s gen­er­ally shy some­times but larger than life most times,” notes Michelle. “He pranced right in.”

Michelle re­ports that the food bank vol­un­teers were pleased to meet their young bene­fac­tor.

Ma­son still gets his own fair share of treats when he makes his rounds, though when he was a tod­dler she tended not to en­cour­age that.

“Now I think a lot of peo­ple know that he’s do­ing it and they re­spect it,” says Michelle, who ad­mits the neigh­bour­hood has taken to slip­ping her son a few extra good­ies as he gets older. “He’s got­ten a few more treats this year than he’s got­ten ev­ery other year.”

Ma­son has al­ready promised he will be col­lect­ing for the food bank next year too.

SUB­MIT­TED

Michelle, Ma­son and Paul Barter.

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