Competition fuels food drive

The second annual Food Drive Challenge kicked off last Thursday at Indy Commons.

INDEPENDENCE — The second annual Food Drive Challenge kicked off last Thursday at Indy Commons, and The Monmouth Police Department is working hard to defend its title.

Perched above a food collection box in the Monmouth Police Department lobby sits the Golden Can Trophy, awarded to them last year for bringing in 2,089.9 pounds of food and $525 in donations for Ella Curran Food Bank.

As of Friday, the Independence Police Department, Young Realty Group, PCL and Elkay Manufacturing had formed teams.

“You can either put a team together or donate food to help another team out,” said Kate Schwarzler, of Indy Commons.

Indy Commons and the Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce are hosting the challenge and are working together as a team to collect food.

“Form a team or help a team,” Schwarzler said. “We would love to have more teams sign up.”

Contributions will be collected until Dec. 14.

Ella Curran will accept food and monetary donations, but do have some foods that are higher on their list of needs: Soup, rice, toilet paper, canned vegetables, peanut butter, boxed cereal, canned fruit, canned tuna and chicken, Chili, Hamburger Helper and stew. They also could use baking supplies, such as cooking oil and muffin mixes.

Each dollar will count as a pound of food, she said.

“We’re trying to make it easy for people to donate multiple ways,” Schwarzler said.

Monday morning Schwarzler set up donation boxes for each of the teams so people can drop by and contribute.

“We’re going to tally the amounts up and we’ll keep track of it but we might empty the food boxes early to get the food to the foodbank,” she said. “Typically during the holiday season, they have a high need.”

In its inaugural year, the Food Drive Challenge brought in 3,200 pounds of food.

“We have more teams (this year), I would hope we would be able to get 5,000 pounds of food,” she said. “It was really fun last year. It was a good surprise to have such a good response to it.”

Part of the fun was the good-natured competition.

“There were some kind of funny exchanges last year, especially between the police departments,” Schwarzler said.

She’s hoping people will post some good-natured comments this year too.

“It’s a good way to engage people and get the word out about it,” she said.

For more information, contact Kate Schwarlzer at 503-930-4840 or

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