Cans Around the Oval fights hunger in Larimer County

Cans PosterThis year marks the 29th annual Cans Around the Oval food drive. CSU students, faculty and staff partner with community members, local media and area businesses to raise awareness about the issue of hunger in Larimer County while collecting donations of non-perishable food items and money for the Food Bank for Larimer County.

Cans Around the Oval has grown into the county’s largest single-day food drive. Collection Day will be Oct. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., on the historic CSU Oval, when everyone on campus is encouraged to drop off donations. And this year, monetary donations go farther to feed hungry families in Fort Collins and Larimer County.

Jenn Rieskamp, program coordinator for CSU’s Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office, which sponsors Cans, said this year a $1 cash donation to the Food Bank provides $5 worth of nutritious food through a variety of programs for children, seniors and families in need, up from $4 last year.

Last year, through a combination of hard work, dedication and friendly competition, the Ram family raised a total of 47,470 pounds of food and $46,743 for Cans Around the Oval. That translates into a total impact of 186,974 pounds of food for the Food Bank, including fresh produce, bread, meats and eggs, cheese and dairy products as well as non-perishable items.

The Food Bank for serves about 30,000 Larimer County residents each year through its two Food Share pantries; 35 percent of its clients are children and seniors. It also provides nearly 80,000 scratch-cooked meals through the Kids Café program as well as more than 100,000 healthy in-school snacks and 23,000 backpacks filled with food for weekends and school breaks, and partners with 84 nonprofits to help them serve their clients nutritious meals throughout the year.

Ways to be involved

cans-around-oval-collection-002Collection Day isn’t the only time the Ram Family can donate to Cans. Departments across campus are also collecting donations through the month of October, and Spoons Soups, Salads and Sandwiches in Lory Student Center will donate 5 percent of all sales on Oct. 1 to Cans Around the Oval.

Another annual tradition, CANStruction, takes place on the LSC Plaza 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Oct. 14. Teams from across campus compete to build creative structures out of cans; prizes are awarded in pounds of food for the Food Bank.

Groups can register to take part in Cans Around the Oval on the SLiCE website anytime through Oct. 21. Nearly 150 different groups participate in the Cans effort each year, ranging from CSU schools and departments to community service organizations. Registered groups can also challenge each other to see who can raise the most food and funds for the Food Bank.

In 2014, the CSU College of Business was once again the highest-collecting department on campus; Beta Alpha Psi brought in the most donations among student organizations and Pi Kappa Alpha topped the fraternity/sorority list. Braiden Hall’s efforts had the largest total impact among on-campus Housing & Dining groups, while Rocky Mountain High School and Spoons led the way among community schools and the Fort Collins community, respectively.

In addition to in-person contributions of cans and cash, anyone can also make online donations to Cans Around the Oval through the Food Bank website.

Cans Around the Oval receives additional support from Lory Student Center, Residence Life, Office of International Programs, CSU Transportation Services, Campus Recreation, Rocky Mountain Collegian, Exodus Moving and Storage, Off-Campus Life, Spoons Soups and Salads Restaurant, and CSU Athletics.