Oct 122011
Authors: Jordan Kurtz

After a recent tour of the Food Bank for Larimer County, organizers believe Wednesday’s food drive, the 25th annual Cans Around the Oval, will double their current inventory with a current community donation of more than 57,000 pounds of food and $29,200 in monetary donations.

More food and money was being counted at time of print.

The Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office hosted the event and had tents set up with their accountants present to accept monetary donations. The organization has created a new “Total Cash Impact” scale this year, stating that $1 is equal to four pounds of food, or a meal for a family of four.

The monetary donations from this year’s drive are equivalent to more than 117,000 pounds of food.

“We had a great turnout,” said SLiCE Program Coordinator Brett Rundle. “Today demonstrated tremendous support from CSU and the community.”

Rundle said that he projects the final numbers from this year’s drive to be very close to last year’s 66,800 pounds of food and $39,600 in monetary donations.

Cans Around the Oval has been collecting donations since Sept. 13 in an effort to fight the hunger issues that are present in the Fort Collins and Loveland communities.

“We had about 150 groups registered and a bunch of individuals from the community,” said SLiCE Student Coordinator of Special Events Emma Martens. “We also had a high amount of online donations, more than last year.”

The food collected gets dispersed throughout Larimer county to about 90 member agencies while the money is used to purchase fresh food to serve an estimated 13,000 people per month, according to Chuck Gill, assistant director of the Food Bank for Larimer County.

The event kicked off at approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday with an introduction from Martens. Her opening address was followed by speeches from the Food Bank of Larimer County Director Amy Pezzani and CSU President Tony Frank.

“Students may not have money to donate, but they do have a voice that can make lawmakers aware,” Pezzani said, noting that student involvement can change the situation in a positive way.

Cans also brings in a variety of foods that the food bank does not normally have access to, and the quotas for certain foods were met from Wednesday’s drive alone, Pezzani said.

As the biggest food drive in Larimer County, Martens said more than 70 volunteers helped collect donations from students and community members.

In his speech, CSU President Tony Frank said Cans Around the Oval exemplified the CSU “spirit of doing things.”

After speaking, Frank pulled his truck up to the weigh station and helped volunteers unload a bed full of bags of rice.

CSU faculty, multiple student organizations, faith-based groups and other community participants dropped off their donations throughout the day.

“We had trucks that went to 17 Poudre School District schools,” Rundle said.

Some CSU organizations, like the InterFraternity Council, held fundraisers in advance to raise money for the campaign. Travis Wendel, vice president of community service and philanthropy for the council, said his organization was glad to be a part of something that makes such a big impact on the community.

_Collegian writer Jordan Kurtz can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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