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SCOTT CITY–Wheatland Electric’s annual Cram the Van food drive has, once again, smashed previous collection records, raising a total of 54,599 pounds for a dozen local food banks.

At the start of this fall, we sought out to “Think BIG” and make this year’s Cram the Van our biggest, brightest, and best year yet.

We’re excited to share that this year’s collection – just over 27 tons – is an 18% increase over last year’s collection (44,576 pounds). 

This brings the combined nine-year food drive total to 226,908, or just over 113 tons of food. (In 2014, our inaugural year, our food drive raised 6,615 pounds of food.)

This year’s “Think Big!” campaign comprised of 10 in-person donation events across our service area between September and November, where we brought our big energy and big ideas to the forefront of our food drive.

During this time, we traveled hundreds of miles in our big red van to collect both cash and can donations at these local events, where our cooperative employees and other volunteers grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for our co-op members as our way of saying “thank you.”

Our cooperative also coordinated multiple friendly school competitions across four area school districts (USD 428, USD 363, USD 466, USD 356), which helped us raise several thousand more pounds of food across these communities.

Winners from these school competitions received cash prizes from both Wheatland Electric and the Gifting Forward Foundation in Great Bend for their big efforts!

In addition to our in-person events, school competitions, and an online donation campaign, we also raised additional dollars through our fourth annual Co-ops Care Charity Golf Tournament, held this past September.

Thanks to the generosity of our full tournament of golfers, vendors, sponsors, and other supporters (including our own cooperative employees and volunteers) we were able to raise more than $20,000 in proceeds from our annual charity event, which serves as our kick-off to Cram the Van every fall.

Thanks to our co-op members, sponsors, schools, communities, volunteers, and other partners, we were able to donate non-perishable food items and cash to the following food banks just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday ($1 donation = 1 pound of food):

  • United Methodist Food Pantry and Caldwell Food Bank, Caldwell – 2,775 lbs.
  • Conway Springs Mission Mart (Cardinals Care), Conway Springs – 3,489 lbs.
  • Emmaus House and Genesis Family Health, Finney County – 3,577 lbs.
  • Community Food Bank of Barton County, Great Bend – 19,267 lbs.
  • Harper Mission Mart, Harper – 2,591 lbs.
  • Horns for Hope c/o USD 363, Holcomb – 6,753 lbs.
  • Wichita County Food Bank, Leoti – 3,833 lbs.
  • Ministerial Alliance, Scott City – 4,645 lbs.
  • Hamilton County Food Pantry, Syracuse – 3,354 lbs.
  • Greeley County Food Bank, Tribune – 4,315 lbs.

Every year, we Cram the Van because we care. And every year, our members show us why the travel and time are worth all the toil and sweat.

We cannot thank our communities, schools, and volunteers enough for helping us “Think Big!” this year to help stock our local food banks and generate another record-breaking collection total.