Every day in Eagle County, some children go to school without the proper nutrition to keep their minds and bodies energized and focused on their school day.
This is a primary concern for our communities, and efforts to overcome this begin with the food drive and other essential programs.
Please join Colorado Mountain Express, the Eagle, Avon and Vail police and the Eagle County Sheriff's Office to collect as much as possible in food and donations, hoping to set a new standard and break previous records.
The "Stock the Pantry" Eagle County law enforcement food drive is under way. Vail Code Enforcement Officer Moses Gonzales started this food drive in 2001 with his vision to help our community's struggling families.
Tsu Wolin-Brown of the Eagle County Salvation Army has indicated there were over 5,774 visits to the food pantry last year. In the first six months of 2012, there already have been 4,315 visits by families in need.
Without the incredible generosity of this community and our law enforcement agencies, she says we would not be able to supply every family in need with food.
Last year's drive collected more than 110,000 pounds of food. Our goal for 2012 is 150,000 pounds. Over the past 11 years, we have collected over 1 million pounds of food.
Eagle County law enforcement and firefighters will be collecting food from Eagle County Schools on Oct. 26, followed by a collection at participating grocery stores on Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These stores include all the Eagle County City Markets, Walmart, the Village Market in Edwards and the Columbine Market in Gypsum.
Colorado Mountain Express will be donating their time and resources by driving the donated food to their designated locations. There are also drop-off points in Vail at City Market and the Vail Municipal Building through Oct. 27.
Non-perishable items are suggested and needed. Participants are asked to refrain from donating items stored in glass containers, items with expired dates or homemade food items.
One-hundred percent of the food and money collected for the food drive is distributed to the Salvation Army, the Bright Future Foundation and the Food Rescue Express and stays in Eagle County.
We also collect money to make it easier to contribute. Gift cards at City Market will be bought and given to families in need. In terms of monetary collection, each dollar raised equals five pounds of food. A check can be made out to the "Town of Vail" with "Food Drive" in the memo section. A tax deductible letter will be mailed for each check.
This is the 12th year for the annual food drive. The success of past food drives can be attributed to the generosity of our compassionate community and exceptional community partners. Donations to the "Stock the Pantry" food drive will continue a charitable tradition of providing nutritious food to every man, woman and child in Eagle County who would not otherwise have access to basic sustenance.
Please contact me directly at 479-2210 if you have any questions, and I sincerely hope you consider assisting us in making the "Stock the Pantry 2012" events the most successful ever! Thanks for making a difference in our community.
Craig Westering is an officer with the Vail Police Department.