On this day (December 11) in 1946, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF for short, was created. UNICEF’s original mandate was to provide food and healthcare to children in countries that had been destroyed in the violence of the Second World War. Today, UNICEF has staff and workers in over 190 countries and territories across the globe, and provides humanitarian assistance to children and their mothers in developing countries.
Many North American children may be familiar with “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF”. The idea of this program started in Philadelphia in 1950, where children would collect loose change in small orange boxes on Halloween night, rather than soliciting for candy amongst neighbours. Upon UNICEF receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965, American president Lyndon B. Johnson stated: “Your UNICEF Trick or Treat Day has helped turn a holiday too often marred by youthful vandalism into a program of basic training in world citizenship.” While the policy of collection of monies in small orange boxes has stopped out of safety and administrative concerns, “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” continues to this day. Children from the United States, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and Hong Kong participate in this program, which has raised over US $188 million worldwide.