A massive CSU canned-food drive, ending Thursday, collected 136,000 pounds of food.
Cans Around the Oval has raised 20,000 more pounds of food each year over the past four years for the Food Bank for Larimer County, said Jen Johnson, assistant director of Volunteer and Community Programs for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement.
The event is “the largest one-day food drive and donation in northern Colorado,” Johnson said.
For most CSU students, tonight’s dinner is the least of their concerns. But for 38 million Americans, their food sources are unreliable, two million more than last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“It’s awesome for others who can’t afford food, and motivating to know we can feed almost everyone in the world,” said A.J. Stewart, a sixth grader from Kruse Elementary School.
The FBLC distributes food based on individual incomes with the “fastest growing segment of the hungry being the working poor,” according to the food bank’s Web site.
About half of the 7,000 fed each month are children and elderly, said Heather Thurston, FBLC development director.
For the most part, three categories of people walk through the FBLC doors, Thurston said.
“The working poor – some have two jobs – homeless and recently unemployed people starting a new job, but most just use (the food bank) as a safety net,” she said.
To keep the competition that has been going on all month alive between the organizations, on-campus SLCE organizers of the event gave out points depending on the types of food given.
The food bank has foods that are “highly needed” such as tomato products, fruit in a can, peanut butter and meals in a can. Organizations can earn more points by giving more of those highly needed foods.
“I grew up in Fort Collins, but I’ve learned more and more about the incredible non-profit organizations that Fort Collins has,” said Mayor Doug Hutchinson. “Cans Around the Oval is a great example of people getting together to help others. It’s a real tribute to the people of Fort Collins.”
Awards are given at the end of the event to the groups that donated the most.
“Competition is a factor, ” said freshman open option major and Sigma Chi member Cyrus Tchamanzar, while unloading food. “But people just started donating.”
Burt, the traveling trophy made from canned food, goes to the highest donor. This time, it was the College of Business with 43,250 pounds of collected food.
Matt Manthe, a Sigma Chi member and sophomore real estate major, said the day was about more than competition.
“It’s community service and people just feel really good about giving,” he said.
Staff writer Emily Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first year in 1988, organizations raised 11,000 pounds of food which encircled the Oval once with cans about one foot apart. In 2005 alone, organizations around campus raised more than 117,200 pounds of food, which lines the oval 54 times with no space between the cans.
By the numbers:
1988- 11,000 lbs
1993- 24,800 lbs
1999- 28,000 lbs
2005- 117,200 lbs
2006- 136,000 lbs