Business, Community, Faith-based Groups to Build “Can-trees” to Fight Hunger
The Ventura County holiday season will shine a little brighter as The Collection at RiverPark hosts the second annual CAN-tree Collection food drive from Dec. 6-8. The fun-filled three-day event will support FOOD Share’s Tackle Hunger campaign, in which business, community and faith-based teams collect canned goods and build their own “can-trees” as part of their fight against hunger.
With a goal of 100 can-trees this year – each built from approximately 800 cans – teams will construct 5-foot-tall can-trees to be showcased throughout the weekend. The centerpiece of the spectacular display will be The Collection’s own can-tree made of 10,000 cans donated by Whole Foods Market, and designed and assembled by students of ACE Charter High School.
Ventura County moving and storage leader PODS® will help carry the weight of the canned good donations; franchise owner Steve Yapp has donated PODS® containers to transport more than 35,000 canned goods to the event site for teams to build with. Local B95.1 radio hosts will broadcast live from a transparent Plexiglass PODS® container, encouraging the community to donate cans and build their own can-trees.
The event underscores FOOD Share’s slogan, “one neighborhood at a time,” reflecting the food bank’s philosophy that if each neighborhood held a small food drive, hunger in Ventura County could be eliminated. The can-tree build will be held over three days from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day: businesses will construct their can-trees on Friday, neighborhood teams, families and faith-based groups will build theirs on Saturday and Sunday. The dining and shopping destination will also add to the holiday ambiance throughout the weekend when event-goers will have the opportunity to take photos with Santa and enjoy festive tunes sung by holiday carolers. Retailers will also get in on the holiday fun when Color Me Mine hosts an ornament-making workshop and Panera Bread invites patrons to indulge in some “sweet creativity” at its cookie decorating station.
“Our Tackle Hunger campaign comes at the most critical time during the year when we need the most support from our community, and we hope this signature event will give us the boost we need to help serve our hungry friends,” said Bonnie Weigel, president and CEO of FOOD Share. “This year, the need has heightened, as food insecurity among children and seniors is steadily increasing. If everyone in our community donated a small amount to the hungry population, together we could put an end to this hardship.”
Donations to FOOD Share will be accepted all weekend. For every $25 donated, the regional food bank will be able to provide $125 worth of food to families in need. This year, FOOD Share’s goal is to raise $150,000 in donations throughout the holiday season to provide 8 million meals – an equivalent to 10 million pounds of food – per year.
Last year, more than 57,000 pounds of food were collected, as well as $13,500 in monetary donations for the inaugural Can-Tree Collection event.
According to a 2013 study by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, nearly 102,400 people in Ventura County do not know where they will find their next meal; only 74,500 seek FOOD Share’s assistance through its 162 pantry partners per month.
“No one deserves to go hungry, especially around the holidays,” said Leticia Wilson, marketing director for The Collection. “Our first CAN-tree Collection event was a huge success and this year we hope to inspire more teams to join us in our fight against hunger in Ventura County.”