Communities Help Each Other out for the Holidays

Jonas Kahila, writer

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Outside the frosted over windows a blanket of snow covers the ground and brightly colored lights illuminate the darkening sky. Inside of the warm building, kids run about while adults fill the space socializing. The scene could easily be mistaken for some sort of community gathering, except for laundry baskets overflowing with cans, which volunteers from the community have spent hours distributing, spread across the floor.

The date is December 6th and the community has been collecting food for weeks to give out to people in the surrounding community as part of an annual food drive. On this Thursday evening, people are sorting hundreds of cans and other foods into individual baskets, to be given out to  families in need on Saturday.

“The goal is to help people in need, just giving to our neighbors who could use it,” said Nancy von Shulz, main organizer of the small army distributing cans.

Putting on a food drive is no easy task. In fact, it has taken years of trial and error for the the event to become what it is now.

“This is our seventh year,” explained Dawn Williams, president of Canyon Cares, the organization behind the food drive, “By now we’ve got a system, so if you work the system, and do everything on time it all turns out like this.”

The system described by Dawn is requires a lot of work from herself, Nancy, and other members of the Canyon Cares board. Advertising, collecting, and multiple rounds of sorting must be done before the food is even distributed for individuals and families. It takes investment from the entire community.

“[Coal Creek Canyon K-8], does a contest between the classes, and whichever class collects the most food gets a pizza lunch. It turned out to be the fifth grade class this year” von Schulz added with a smile on her face.

Everybody in the room sorting cans is happy to be there helping out with the food drive.

“[Helping out] makes me feel pretty good because I know I’m helping people and it’s going to go to a good cause,” shared Ari Vair, a freshman at RV, after finishing up with a load cans.

While this particular food drive took place in Coal Creek Canyon, a small town in the mountains just west of Arvada, there are plenty of ways to help people this holiday season as a Ralston valley student. Urban Peak, an organization dedicated to helping homeless teenagers in the Denver area, is collecting hygiene products next to the lobby security desk until December 20th.

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