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Donations in food drive triple

Cans to Candelaria collects more than 25,000 lbs of food

By Meagan Birely
On October 10, 2008

  • Kaitlyn Mefford, a sophomore psychology major (left), and Andrea Oswald, a sophomore. Felicia Sheumaker

Participants of Cans to Candelaria collected 25,473 pounds of canned food from 89 groups around campus. The Student Dietetic Association won the food drive by collecting of 3,204 pounds.

"In advance, we planned to go to grocery stores," said Ashley Watchier, a senior dietetics major and president of the Student Dietetic Association.

Watchier and members of the club spent four hours Thursday at a grocery store taking donations, and then spent another eight hours at another grocery store on Saturday.

"Our main focus is to help volunteer, especially with food aspects," Watchier said. "We had 25 members help out. We all chipped in to help."

One change to the drive this year was the addition of money donations, where $1 equaled six pounds of food. The money and cans were counted together to give the total number of pounds of food collected. Donations will go to the Weld Food Bank.

There was a celebration for all the participants Thursday night and Rick Cramer from WFB spoke to students.

"I can't begin to tell you how much this is appreciated," Cramer said. "The fact that you are willing to chip in and help means a lot. Thanks for your heart and effort."

Most of the donated food will go to help WFB's emergency food boxes that go to help families in crisis in Weld County.

"More and more people are relying on food banks now more than ever," Cramer said. "We usually give out less than 100 a day, but this year 130 a day is the norm. If we keep at this pace we are going to break 20,000 this year."

The last big food drive that WFB received donations from was 9 Cares Colorado Shares back in June.

"Hunger is a year-round problem," said Sarah Alessi, a volunteer event coordinator for WFB.  "We are seeing an increase in people that need our help, it is very good that they are doing this."

In its third year, Cans to Candelaria has grown quite a bit.

In the first year, 40 groups on campus participated and collected 4,000 pounds of food.  Last year, 60 groups participated and collected 8,000 pounds. 

"It was better this year," said Alexandra Sutton, a senior journalism major. "Dr. Peck really tried to promote this by advertising,"

Lee Anne Peck, an assistant professor of journalism, helps her public relations techniques class plan the food drive.

The midterm for Peck's students will be to evaluate the food drive.

"My 20 students do a lot of the work," Peck said. "Students get to see how much planning and work goes into it."

Students said the planning for the campus-wide food drive was started by last year's class.

"It is important and the fact that college students, and our campus is willing to help out speaks highly of us," said Stevie Neet, a senior journalism major. "I am proud to be a bear."

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