As the largest food drive in Northern Colorado, the 21st annual Cans Around the Oval food drive looked to set a new record for the amount of cans collected this year.
All of the donated food will go to support the Food Bank of Larimer County.
The four-week drive, sponsored by the Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement office allowed groups on campus to start collecting food in September. The food was first used in the CanStruction competition, in which students built formations in the Morgan Library parking lot after the Homecoming parade.
Community members were given the opportunity to show support of this event by voting for their favorite can-structure through donations. Every dollar donated will be used to purchase ten dollars worth of food for the Food Bank of Larimer County.
“Cans Around the Oval is a true example of collaboration between CSU and the greater Fort Collins community to achieve something positive for Larimer County,” Jen Johnson, assistant director for SLiCE, said in a press release. “Every year people exceed my expectations of generosity and kindness.”
The cans were then used by The Neenan Co., a local design and construction company, to build a can-structure outside the Morgan Library. According to Ben Shepard, the designer of the structure, the plan called for 42,000 cans and additional food would be added along the outside if the goal of 46,000 was reached.
“It is going to be a personification of the ripple effect,” Keith Colton, volunteer and special event coordinator at SLiCE said in a press release. “They’re going to make a giant footprint and make it hollow so you can stand in it. The cans around the footprint represent the waves created when someone demonstrates their care and concern for the community by participating in events such as Cans.”
Last year, Cans Around the Oval collected 127,000 pounds of nonperishable food items for the Food Bank of Larimer County used for their three hunger relief programs: Food Link, Kids Café and Food Share.
Food from this event primarily benefits the Food Share pantry where low-income families can go directly to get food.
“CANS is the largest food drive we have, by far,” said Amy Pezzani, executive director of the Food Bank of Larimer County. “By the time the big day rolls around each year we are getting very low on food drive food so it helps tremendously to restock our inventory.”
On a daily basis, the food bank goes through roughly 20,000-25,000 pounds — about a truckload — of food a day and 100,000-120,000 pound of food a week.
“The great thing about CANS is that we receive a variety of foods and we don’t always get that through other donation programs,” Pezzani said. “It generates a lot of awareness of hunger and the Food Bank for Larimer County and really brings together the community with the university to serve a common cause.”
At press time, exact donation amounts for the food drive were not available.
Staff writer Kayla Huddleston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.