West Texas Food Bank

ECISD Cans for Kids Donates Over 60,000 Pounds

ECISD Cans for Kids Donates Over 60,000 Pounds April 12, 2013

BY LINDSAY WEAVER lweaver@oaoa.com >> Contact Lindsay Weaver on twitter at @OAschools, on Facebook at OA Lindsay Weaver or call 432-333-7781. | Posted 4 months ago

A decade ago, Ron Clark, the nutrition director for Ector County ISD, started a little contest called Cans for Kids in Odessa asking the community to donate food to supply local food banks before the summer months when kids were out of school.

The contest quickly grew into a statewide competition. That was until ECISD won the contest two years in a row and it was discontinued.

“They probably thought we were cheating,” Clark joked on Wednesday afternoon.

He retired in 2004 but stopped by the warehouse on 10th Street for the celebration of Cans for Kids’ 10th anniversary and to say hello to his friend and predecessor, Terry Gooch, who is retiring after 26 years with the nutrition department.

That first year, Clark took a guess that the students, teachers and staff had donated about 8,000 pounds of food. On this particularly joyful day, the nutrition department celebrated that the Cans for Kids drive brought in 60,179 pounds — that’s nearly twice as much as the previous record of 33,224 in 2007.

The hundreds of pallets of cans and dry goods were a staggering sight. It stood about 4 feet tall and spanned a cars’ length inside the warehouse. All of the food is going to the West Texas Food Bank and will help feed children and families who need help during the summer when school lunches go away and are sometimes the only nutritional meal a child may get during the day.

The generosity is going to help put an end to hunger in our community, Libby Campbell said, executive director with the West Texas Food Bank. Linda Robertson, a school nutrition supervisor, teared up at the start of the presentation that was watched by several dozen ECISD employees. She presented Campbell with a check of $1,567.88 raised by cash donations. The 60,179 pounds of food is equivalent to a donation of about $11,000, she said, and will fit into the cargo of a semi-truck once it’s loaded up.

Over 10 years, Cans for Kids has donated nearly 281,000 pounds of food to the food bank.

“The need goes up in the summer,” Campbell said. “It’s phenomenal. It’s an opportunity to teach to students it’s important to give back.”

As for Gooch, who can rattle off statistics on Cans for Kids just like that, he was struck by the amazing effort that used his leadership as a catalyst for each school to raise 2,600 pounds of food in honor of Gooch’s 26 years of service at ECISD.

“It’s amazing. It’s very humbling,” Gooch said.

View related website.