Dear Colleagues,

Tomorrow, October 22, we’ll celebrate the 28th anniversary of Cans Around the Oval, Larimer County’s largest one-day food drive and one of our most important campus events every fall. While I don’t typically send out emails about events, I wanted to make an exception this year to encourage all of us to step up and support Cans. It is, without question, one of the most important things we do as a campus community every year to benefit the people of our local community.

Nothing is more fundamental to a healthy community than to ensure that all people have enough to eat. Hunger — and access to nutritious food — continues to be a rising health and social issue nationally, regionally, and locally. (We know, for example, that hungry children often struggle to succeed in school, something that ought to be an issue for all of us who value education.) The Food Bank for Larimer County takes the lead in addressing this challenge locally by providing food to numerous Larimer County non-profit organizations, distributing fresh foods directly to more than 9,000 families and individuals each month, and serving up nearly 350 meals each night to low-income children in our community, But the number of people seeking services at the Food Bank has risen by 55% in just four years. The rising costs of food, healthcare, and fuel have significantly contributed to the number of families being served, along with the number of times those families seek assistance throughout the month.

Last year, the efforts of CSU students, faculty, staff, and community members raised well over 63,000 pounds of food and $49,000 to keep the Food Bank pantries stocked. This year, there is once again a desperate need for donations and support to keep their warehouse full, particularly heading into the colder months. By participating in this year’s Cans Around the Oval, you can play a vital role in feeding the hungry of Larimer County.

Our students contribute thousands of hours of serve and volunteer work in our community throughout the year — 66 percent of CSU seniors have participated in some form of community service or volunteer work by the time they graduate, and we have repeatedly been named to the U.S. President’s Community Service Honor Roll. Cans Around the Oval — a program created and run by students for nearly three decades — is a key part of this service tradition, involving the broad spectrum of student organizations, offices, individuals, departments, and community groups — all working together to address a serious, recognized community need.

Thanks to the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) for guiding this effort (and so many others) — and thanks to all of you whose contributions of non-perishable food or monetary donations at the Oval between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. tomorrow will help us reach a new record.

Every contribution makes a difference for our neighbors, friends, and colleagues in need. Please join me in rallying in support of Cans Around the Oval 2014.


Dr. Tony Frank