Local girls putting on canned food drive | VailDaily.com

Local girls putting on canned food drive

NWS Cans for Katrina SM 9-2

EAGLE-VAIL ” Jane Leptovska and Karli Scherer have a big job to do. If they succeed, a lot of people will be better off.

Leptovska, 15, and Scherer, 16, students at Battle Mountain High School, have launched a canned food and cash drive to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The girls are talking to friends, neighbors, local businesses and other schools to set out cash jars and donation boxes.

The cash will be given to the Salvation Army. The food will be given to the Food Bank of the Rockies in Denver. From there, it will go wherever it’s needed.

“We won’t know for 30 or 45 days exactly where it will end up, but it will go to the affected areas,” said Kevin Seggelke, president of Food Bank of the Rockies.

The Denver food bank is part of the national Second Harvest Food Bank network. Those food banks are helping feed the estimated 700,000 to 800,000 people who have been driven from their homes by Hurricane Katrina.

And, while Seggelke said his food bank has been “inundated” with calls from corporations and other donors, Leptovska and Scherer are the only young people he knows of who have called.

The local girls found Food Bank of the Rockies the old-fashioned way: by making a bunch of phone calls.

“I literally ran myself out of cell phone minutes trying this,” Leptovska said.

Once they got in touch with Food Bank of the Rockies, the girls got a list of items to collect, and a pretty big target.

The Denver food bank has several trucks, the smallest of which has a 20-foot bed. To fill it, the girls need six to eight pallets of food and other items. That adds up to somewhere between 450 and 500 cases of food, Seggelke said.

That’s a lot. But Leptovska and Scherer are determined to send as much as they can.

“I talked to my dad and he said he could help us get stuff there,” Scherer said. “But we’d love to have that truck.”

Any other local groups collecting food are welcome to put their donations on the Food Bank of the Rockies truck, Scherer said.

Leptovska and Scherer also want to get this job done quickly.

“We want to have it done in two weeks,” Leptovska said.

The lack of quick help to the Gulf Coast is the main reason Leptovska and Scherer started their work.

“We were disappointed with how long it’s taken,” Leptovska said. “People are still planning and we’re ready to go. We can put out boxes and jars right now.”

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Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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