‘Cash’ around the Oval: Cans drive raises record $61K, plus 35,456 pounds of food

CSU and the surrounding community donated the equivalent of 342,753 pounds of food in the 32nd annual Cans Around the Oval drive that ended Oct. 17, benefitting people who rely on the Food Bank for Larimer County.

Cans Around the Oval, a major food drive for the Food Bank for Larimer County, raised 35,456 pounds of food and $61,459 in monetary donations this year – an all-time high for financial contributions.

Kids carrying cans

The food bank can stretch every dollar donated into $5 worth of food. (Historically the food bank has described it as every $1 being equivalent to five pounds of food, but starting next year totals will be described in monetary figures instead.)

Alleviating burdens

“We want to thank all who contributed food donations and monetary donations, participated in CANStruction, and volunteered at Collection Day,” said Sarah Stephens, senior program coordinator for the Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office, which leads the annual Cans efforts. “We also thank the Food Bank for Larimer County for their continued partnership and support with this program. We are so appreciative of the collective efforts and the significant donations raised to better support food-insecure folks and alleviate some of the burdens experienced by these individuals in our greater community.”

“This year, Cans Around the Oval’s campaign goals were to raise more dollars than cans, believe it or not,” Stephens said. “We were ambitious in our goals of $65,000 and 35,000 pounds, as we wanted folks to truly see the significant value of dollar donations for our benefactor, and those who count on its services.”

Ultimately, the drive was successful in its goal to have more monetary donations than food donations this year.

Creating community

“This is about creating the community you want to live in,” Amy Pezzani, the chief executive officer of the Food Bank for Larimer County, told the audience at the Oct. 17 collection ceremony. “This is about how we treat those in our community who are going hungry.”

Students placing cans

Stephens noted that according to estimates, as many as three in 10 CSU students experience food insecurity.

“We talk a lot about student success, but students can’t learn and be successful if they’re hungry,” Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes added. “Faculty and staff can’t do their jobs well if they’re hungry.”

The Food Bank provides food to more than 37,500 people in need through community partnerships and hunger-relief programs. It distributes nearly 9 million pounds of food every year.

The CSU community (colleges, departments, offices and student groups) and the Fort Collins community (K-12 schools, nonprofits, businesses and faith-based community organizations) join together throughout Larimer County to engage in an annual competition to help boost donations for Cans Around the Oval. Based on total impact – food items plus cash donations – here are the winners for each category for 2018. The top three finished in those same slots last year.

Top 3 donors

College of Business – total impact 72,564.50 lbs. (or $14,383.50 and 647 lbs. of food raised)

Office of the Vice President for Research – total impact 59,383.50 lbs. (or $11,824 and 263.5 lbs. of food raised)

Rocky Mountain High School – total impact 30,510.83 lbs. (or $5,081 and 5,105.83 lbs. of food raised)

CSU colleges, departments & offices

College of Business – total impact 72,564.50 lbs. (or $14,383.50 and 647 lbs. of food raised)

Office of the Vice President for Research – total impact 59,445.10 lbs. (or $11,824 and 325.10 lbs. of food raised)

Department of Enrollment and Access – total impact 16,650.85 (or $3,320.57 and 48 lbs. of food raised)

Volunteer sorting

CSU student groups

College of Business, Dean’s Student Leadership Council – total impact 10,250 lbs. (or $2,050 and 0.00 lbs. of food raised)

Student Athlete Advisory Committee – total impact 4,397.5 lbs. (or $869.50 and 50 lbs. of food raised)

Fort Collins Rotaract – total impact 3,288.25 lbs. (or $656 and 8.25 lbs. of food raised)

K-12 schools

Rocky Mountain High School – total impact 30,510.83 lbs. (or $5,081 and 5,105.83 lbs. of food raised)

Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School – total impact 17,144.9 lbs. (or $2,980.18 and 2,244 lbs. of food raised)

McGraw Elementary, An IB World School – total impact 6,946.35 lbs. (or $908.22 and 2,405.25 lbs. of food raised)

Faith-based community organizations

St. Joseph Catholic Church “Works” High School Youth Ministry – total impact 777 lbs. (or $96 and 297 lbs. of food raised)

Wesley Foundation/First United Methodist Church – total impact 279 lbs. ($0.00 and 279 lbs. of food raised)

Local businesses/nonprofits

Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation – total impact 1,864.35 lbs. (or $340 and 164.35 lbs. of food raised)

CSURF (CSU Research Foundation) – total impact 583 lbs. (or $100 and 83 lbs. of food raised)

Northern Colorado Homeschool Association – total impact 265 lbs. (or $0.00 and 265 lbs. of food raised)