Time to Round Up 50 of Santa's Finest Reindeer
Round up 50 of the finest reindeer and you’d have yourself almost 10 tons of reindeer. What's significant about 10 tons you ask? That’s the amount of food you helped us collect at this year’s Cram the Van food drives. We delivered 19,332 pounds and close to $2,000 to food banks in your communities. That’s right, nearly 10 tons of food! And if you’re doing the math, this year we almost matched our previous three years combined! Since we started Cram the Van three years ago, we have collected a total of 42,391 pounds of food. All we can say is WOW! And thank you!
Last year, you helped us collect 9,363 pounds of food (more than 4 ½ tons), which was the most we’d ever collected. This year, we set out with the goal of topping the 5 ton mark. Well, perhaps we underestimated you, because you more than doubled that this year.
This year’s drive once again featured eleven stops in ten different communities and lasted close to eight weeks. The big red van was burning up the black top from Tribune to Caldwell and many more communities in between. We made stops at football games, grocery stores, our co-op offices and even at a barbecue competition. No matter where we stopped, one thing was consistent: the generosity of our members. Whether it was cash or cans you gave generously, and gave more than you did last year in nearly every community.
“The generosity of our members continues to amaze us,” said Bruce W. Mueller, general manager of Wheatland. “Each year our members give more and more. We thought collecting nearly 2,700 pounds in Scott City last year was impressive. To top that in both Conway Springs and Great Bend this year is truly remarkable and collecting nearly 10 tons in one year is incredible, we can’t thank our members enough for their support of this great program. Together, we’re making a difference.”
In Great Bend, Wheatland members donated 5,700 pounds of food, four times the amount they donated last year. This year’s strong showing was buoyed by the success of the first ever Cram the Van School Challenge sponsored by Hiss Sherman Wealth Management. Hiss Sherman offered a $1,000 prize pot to the top three schools ($500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place). This year’s winners were Central Kansas Christian Academy, Holy Family and Lincoln Elementary, respectively. Collectively, all nine Great Bend schools collected 4,600 pounds during the week-long competition.
In Conway Springs, our members donated more than 4,000 pounds. During the week-long Cardinals Care food drive, held in conjunction with Wheatland’s Cram the Van drive, the Conway Springs schools collected 2,700 pounds of goods and $1,964. Members capped the week off by trading their cash or cans for a meal of a hamburger or hot dog before the Conway Springs High School Cardinals game against Mulvane. Most schools rewarded students with extra time off and Wheatland kicked in pizza for the winning class at the high school as well as a pizza party for the students at St. Joseph Catholic School.
Cram the Van joined forces with the folks at the Spencer Flight and Education Center to host the Fall Finale at the Scott City airport. Families in attendance roasted marshmallows, dropped their donations down food slides directly into the van, decorated pumpkins, enjoyed a hayrack ride, participated in a pumpkin seed spitting contest and enjoyed a hamburger, brat or hot dog meal.
“Each year we try to come up with goals and predictions of how many pounds we’ll collect,” said Shawn Powelson, manager of member services and corporate communications for Wheatland. “I would never in a million years have predicted this year’s results. It’s a very busy couple of months, putting on these events throughout our service territory. But the results are also very rewarding. And even more rewarding is making the deliveries to the food banks. After four years we’ve developed a relationship with the food banks and they are so appreciative of our efforts. This year, showing up at the Barton County Food Bank with the van completely full, and two more flatbed pickups full of donations—that was something to see.”