The final week of C.A.N.S. Around The Oval features five days of virtual “CANversations” as well as some exciting news on the “CANpaign’s” goals.
SLiCE, which organizes C.A.N.S. Around The Oval, is hosting virtual “CANversations Around Food,” focusing on the creative and collaborative hunger-relief efforts in Larimer County and beyond for World Food Week. The Zoom talks start on Monday, Oct. 12, and conclude on World Food Day on Friday, Oct. 16, the final day of the 30-day food/fund drive.
The sessions will cover a range of topics and programs, including food security, agri-food, SNAP benefits and Rams Against Hunger. Attendees can register at cans.colostate.edu to access each Zoom session. All are welcome to attend, and all sessions will be recorded.
According to C.A.N.S. (Cash And Nutritious Staples) organizers, the annual drive to collect nonperishable food and raise money for the Food Bank for Larimer County successfully reached its monetary goal of $34,000 on Oct. 8. The five-figure target honors the 34th year of the annual Colorado State University tradition.
“It’s pretty remarkable and greatly moving to see just how many ‘CANtributions’ have come in through virtual, remote and physically distanced means,” said Sarah Stephens, who serves as the senior program coordinator of community engagement and student staff development in SLiCE.
Stephens said that SLiCE traditionally doubles down on community-wide communications the Wednesday before World Food Week to spark any final interests and efforts to CANtribute. She said they cannot recall a time when so many monetary donations came in well before the donation deadline, and particularly within 36 hours.
Between Oct. 7 and 8, Stephens said 134 donors cumulatively poured in $17,000, on top of the $17,000 that had already been donated since the start of the campaign by 212 donors.
“We want to celebrate this early win – it’s clear the ‘Rams Take Care of Rams’ mentality is helping drive this momentum,” Stephens said. “These solo and collective acts of kindness are coming from fellow Rams and our local Northern Colorado neighbors – thank you. We look forward to seeing what more materializes from you all in the final days.”
Goals for the final week
While Stephens is thrilled to reach the financial goal, she said there’s the “CANpaign” target of 8,000 pounds of food – the amount distributed in one week at CSU’s food pantry as well as making an effort to significantly exceed the modest monetary goal.
“If the monetary donations were 1.5 times more than this year’s original goal, the total would practically be the same as last year’s amount of $51,966 total monetary donations,” Stephens said. “Yet, a lot has transpired since C.A.N.S. 2019. Though all of us are now living in the pandemic, some of us have been more negatively impacted than others.”
As an example, Stephens said the Rams Against Hunger Food Pantry now serves 350 people per week, whereas it served 850 people per month prior to COVID-19. At the Food Bank for Larimer County, an average of 450 households per day are served at all of their food share locations.
Donating food for C.A.N.S. Around The Oval
For those able and interested in donating nutritious staples, consider peanut butter, beans, pasta and rice as they are favorites at CSU’s food pantry. The Food Bank for Larimer County additionally seeks canned proteins, canned fruit, macaroni and cheese, and cereal.
Any and all food items are accepted, except the following: food in glass jars, frozen foods, home-canned foods, perishable food and foods that have been previously served or heated.
University community members can donate nonperishable foods on campus Oct. 14-16. Learn more by visiting cans.colostate.edu.
“Maximizing the financial donations for our circumstances in 2020 would sure enhance the food bank’s capacity to serve more Larimer County residents in need and elevate the offerings at the Rams Against Hunger Food Pantry as well,” Stephens said.
CANversation about CSU’s Food Security Pilot Project
Monday, Oct. 12 (11-11:45 a.m.)
Learn more from one of CSU’s off-campus farms and horticulture field research locations on their commitment to responding to food insecurity and human health. Staff from the Agricultural Research, Development, and Education Center (ARDEC-South) will spotlight their Food Security Pilot Project, which provides fruits and vegetables for distribution at Rams Against Hunger’s Food Pantry.
CANversation about the Value of SNAP Benefits
Tuesday, Oct. 13 (11-11:45 a.m.)
Join this session to learn about SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, previously known as food stamps. SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement one’s food budget. Those who qualify can get up to $204 a month for a single household. Students awarded work-study are often eligible. All are welcome, whether you are individually interested in applying for SNAP or just wish to learn more.
CANversation with Rams Against Hunger Staff
Wednesday, Oct. 14 (11-11:45 a.m.)
Get a taste of what it’s like to work with Rams Against Hunger’s Food Pantry from a panel of SLiCE staff members. The panelists include the founder and coordinator of Rams Against Hunger and student staff members. Through engaging storytelling and personal observations, these panelists will bring the Rams Against Hunger program to life by sharing its history, how it recently evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the noticeable impact of the food pantry within the CSU community.
CANversation with Food-Based Student Organizations
Thursday, Oct. 15 (11-11:45 a.m.)
Be a part of a panel conversation with several registered student organizations committed to either combatting local hunger, feeding local/national/global populations, and/or human health and nutrition. The panelists will speak about these specific topics, with each RSO representative providing a quick overview of their organization, how students can join, and the types of community-based activities the student organization tends to do – both pre-COVID and during the pandemic.
Closing CANversation with SLiCE and the Food Bank for Larimer County
Friday, Oct. 16 (11-11:30 a.m.)
Join partners from the SLiCE office and the Food Bank for Larimer County who together coordinate C.A.N.S. Around The Oval for the closing remarks of the 30-day food/fund drive and 34-year CSU tradition. Hear gratitude for all the “CANtributions” and the latest online donation totals. Learn about where donated food ends up, both on campus and throughout Northern Colorado, and how each dollar donated is transformed into two times the meals. Also get more information about the numerous physically distanced and virtual volunteering opportunities available via the food bank.