In an effort to help those who canâ€™t afford food in northern Colorado, the Food Bank for Larimer County will start its annual Cans Around the Oval drive today, helping the more than 30,000 people who need their services.
Students can pick up their collection materials in the Associated Students of CSU Senate Chambers in the Lory Student Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In 1987, CSU started the tradition of assisting the Food Bank through Cans Around the Oval, an event where students, community members and faculty come together to line the oval with food donations.
The office of Student Leadership,Involvement, and Community Engagement, SLiCE, has championed the cause by organizing the event, which is Larimer Countyâ€™s largest single-day food drive.
Cans Around the Oval has grown substantially since it began, when it only collected enough food to circle the Oval once. Last year, the event collected 90,000 pounds of food, enough to circle the Oval 45 times.
Alongside those 90,000 pounds, participants managed to raise $27,000. Since the food bank can supply four meals per dollar, it could have provided disadvantaged families with up to 108,000 meals from the profits.
In 2009, according to the food bankâ€™s website, Larimer Countyâ€™s need for emergency food increased by 30 percent because of the poor economy. The number of individuals served by the Food Bank for Larimer County is steadily increasing, witnessing a roughly 5,000-person increase in clients between 2006 and 2008.
The ultimate goal of Cans Around the Oval this year is to increase awareness of the countyâ€™s need for food, according to Brett Rundle, program coordinator for the SLiCE office.
â€œLast year we had approximately 13,000 people participate in Cans,â€ Rundle said. â€œWeâ€™re trying to top that this year.â€
SLiCE has created several other programs this year to help achieve its goals, such as an online competition where groups are encouraged to self-report their donations to see who has donated the most food.
Other Hunger Awareness events include CANstruction on Oct. 13, where participants build structures out of cans of food on the Lory Student Center Plaza, and the OxFam Hunger Banquet on Oct. 14.
Staff writer Melissa Donahoo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. _