CSU and the Fort Collins community helped make Thursday’s Cans Around the Oval the second-largest in the program’s 20-year history.
The Student Leadership Involvement Civic Engagement (SLiCE) office and volunteers collected 124,700 pounds of food to be donated to the Larimer County Food Bank.
Cans Around the Oval is the biggest one-day food drive in Northern Colorado, according to Tony Macias, a senior economics major, who helped coordinate the event. Last year, around 140,000 pounds of food were collected.
One hundred-forty campus and community organizations brought their donations to the Oval between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday.
Camille Howells, program coordinator for SLiCE, which sponsors the annual food drive, said she was “really touched” after the drive.
“It’s incredible to see the community come together and give at a level that makes a significant impact on hunger in our community,” Howells said.
The College of Business donated 26,096 pounds, making it the largest single contributor to for the second year in a row.
The CSU basketball program was another group joining the cause.
“We enjoy helping as a team,” said Andrew McFarland, a freshman microbiology major, “It’s a good way to bond, and it’s for a good cause.”
The first Cans Around the Oval in 1987 raised only enough cans to line the Oval once, with the cans spaced about a foot apart. Enough cans were collected Thursday to circle the Oval 75 times with no spacing between cans.
Local elementary school students celebrated the event’s 20th anniversary by lining Oval Drive with canned food during the morning. Event coordinators placed the last cans in the ring to kick off the day.
Students from Lincoln Junior High brought in 3,357 pounds of canned food, which the Associated Students of CSU matched with another 1,200 pounds.
Zana Kamberi and Julie Israelson, who coordinated Lincoln Junior High’s efforts, were impressed by their students’ contributions.
“It’s wonderful because these kids are collecting food that them and their families will be beneficiaries of,” Israelson said.
According to Zamberi, 60 percent of the students at Lincoln Junior High are in the free or reduced lunch program, which provides school lunches to students who couldn’t otherwise afford it.
For the past two weeks, students, staff and ASCSU members have been canvassing neighborhoods and bringing in cans from home for the food drive.
“It’s fun,” said Wendy Enriquez, a ninth grader from Lincoln Junior High who participated in Cans Around the Oval for the past three years, “It’s good to help people.”
Chuck Gill, assistant director of the Food Bank of Larimer County, said that after the food is collected, it is transferred to the food bank in trucks. The cans are then distributed to various entities in Larimer County.
Those agencies range from food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and Kids’ Café, a local organization that provides meals to underprivileged children in Larimer County, according to Gill.
The Food Bank of Larimer County distributes about 5 million pounds of food annually, about one third of which is raised at Cans Around the Oval.
CSU President Larry Penley, who spoke at the Cans opening ceremony, said that Cans Around the Oval is a great way to “celebrate the relationship between this community and Colorado State.”
Reporter Laura Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .