The students of Craig Middle School teachers Vicki Blomquist and Melissa Prestangen stand proudly by a flatbed loaded with donated food items. CMS collected roughly 3,400 pounds of food and raised more than $3,000 for the Interfaith Food Bank in the past month, donating the materials Monday.

Courtesy Photo/Beth Gilchrist

The students of Craig Middle School teachers Vicki Blomquist and Melissa Prestangen stand proudly by a flatbed loaded with donated food items. CMS collected roughly 3,400 pounds of food and raised more than $3,000 for the Interfaith Food Bank in the past month, donating the materials Monday.

Craig Middle School donates 3,400 pounds of goods to food bank

— For more information on how to donate to Interfaith Food Bank, call 970-824-7355.

When it comes to giving to those in need, oneupsmanship is hardly a bad thing, and a little friendly competition between the students of Craig Middle School has led to some very positive results.

In the past month, the kids of CMS have amassed 3,400 pounds of non-perishable food items to donate to the Interfaith Food Bank. Besides the 1.7 tons of canned and packaged goods — determined by weighing a flatbed truck before and after the food was transported for delivery Monday — students also collected a financial contribution totaling $3,376.

A contest between classrooms helped bring in more cash, said CMS Secretary Beth Gilchrist, who kept track of the totals. Each dollar brought in counted for four cans, an incentive for kids to outdo last year’s monetary amount of $551, which they did significantly.

The weight of CMS’s donation was also higher than that of last year, which came to about 2,125 pounds of food.

Gilchrist estimated that the total can count was more than 16,500, including the $3,376 — equaling 13,504 cans. Vicki Blomquist’s sixth-graders and Melissa Prestangen’s eight-graders took the honors of the classes that brought in the most.

“I’m pretty impressed with this crowd,” Gilchrist said.

Assistant Principal Jill Hafey said an established goal of 15,000 cans or the monetary equivalent seemed a little high, but students were able to bring surpass the amount at the end of last week.

“All the families have participated, which has been amazing,” she said.

Hafey added that kids were encouraged not to just clear out their cupboards and gather whatever was cheapest and least desirable but to take the time to consider the people who would be on the receiving end of donations.

“We asked them to think about what they would like and to give people something hearty,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of variety from what I’ve seen.”

Eighth-grader Mikinzie Klimper was among the kids helping to unload the truck Monday afternoon as the bags, boxes and baskets of food were handed off at the food bank, located at American Legion Post 62. Individually, he collected about $50 for the effort.

The thought of people going hungry as the holidays come up was a motivator for him.

“It’s good to help so they can actually celebrate,” Klimper said. “It’s been tough unloading so many cans.”

Interfaith Food Bank will also be accepting donations through upcoming incentives such as the KRAI Holiday Drive. Karen Bunk, president of the charitable organization, was very pleased with the amount CMS was able to collect.

“We’re very thankful to have the food drive through the middle school, and this is going to help us tremendously,” she said. “It’s a real godsend.”

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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