KidsPak food drive March 8-10

Courtesy photo – Berthoud High School Peer Support Counselors volunteered Oct. 7, 2018, to pack food bags for the Loveland Rotary Club KidsPak program that serves Thompson School District.

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

KidsPak aims to collect 30,000 pounds of food in three days for its third annual event by bringing volunteers to grocery stores in Berthoud and Loveland.

The KidsPak City Wide Food Drive on March 8-10 will be at eight locations to help fill students’ weekend food packs. They include two King Soopers, three Safeway, and two Walmart stores in Loveland, and Hays Market in Berthoud, which will be participating for the second year in a row.

“If we reach the 30,000-pound point, we should be able to feed students for three months without having to make any additional purchases,” said Corinne Carrigan, volunteer coordinator for the KidsPak committee. “We should get through the school year, March to May.”

KidsPak, in its 10th year, is an all-volunteer weekend hunger-relief program that assists approximately 630 students each week in Thompson School District — an average of 28 students come from Berthoud schools.

The program, a project of the Loveland Rotary Club, operated under the Loveland Rotary Foundation, provides enough food for five meals for children at 35 elementary, middle and high schools, and early childhood centers.

Last year KidsPak provided 19,713 bags of food, equaling 98,565 meals, and this year expects the number to reach 20,700 bags for 103,500 meals. The food comes from purchases from Food Bank for Larimer County, food drives and financial support of grants, foundations, donations, and a budget of $75,000.

The food drive, a major source of food collection for the food bags, generated 28,213 pounds of food last year.

“Last year’s food drive was an exponential leap from 11,000 to 28,000 pounds, and I think it’s an indicator our community support is very wide and deep,” said Tom Carrigan, chairman of the KidsPak committee.

The food drive this year will be noon-7 p.m. March 8; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. March 9; and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 10, when KidsPak volunteers will be present. Volunteers will not be present at the Walmart stores, where food drive items can be purchased during regular store hours.

“We’ve added hours,” Corrine said. “We’re going to be there longer and have more places for people to volunteer.”

The volunteers and staff at Hays Market will give shoppers a ticket listing the needed items they can select to be rung up by a cashier.

“They’re able to choose from a variety of tickets that are valued at various amounts,” said Maia Mattise-Lorenzen, communications director for KidsPak. “They take that to the cashier and pay for it at that time.”

Neal Hays, owner of the store, will use the tickets to place orders for the items that will be delivered March 13 to KidsPak.

The other stores will provide flyers that will list the items, and some also will have displays with the items readily available.

KidsPak is seeking volunteers to help out as grocery store greeters, store captains, drivers, assistant drivers, and to help sort and pack food at the Loveland Food Share building.

For volunteer opportunities, visit www.lovelandrotarykidspak.org and click on “Volunteers.” For more information, contact Betsy Elliott, food drive captain, at betsy@kidspak.net or 720-988-4893 or Corrine Carrigan at corinne@kidspak.net or 970-278-0201.

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