Shoppers at Van’s Thriftway on Saturday made a little extra space in their grocery carts to help Helena Food Share.
Members of the Carroll College Enactus club were standing inside the store and handing out fliers asking people if they would like to donate groceries to help feed the hungry.
The club is a worldwide organization with chapters in 36 countries and 1,600 universities, according to its website, and aims to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need through entrepreneurial efforts.
The food drive is being held through assistance of Campbell’s Soup Co., club members said. The drive is part of Let’s CAN Hunger, a nationwide program by the soup company that provided up to 100 Enactus clubs with $300 each to help with the food collection effort.
Campbell’s is providing $1,000 and a plaque to each of the eight finalists before the Enactus national exposition in April in Cincinnati. Three other Enactus clubs will receive financial prizes that range from $5,000 to $3,000, according to the soup company’s website.
The food drive, said Gina Morigeau, a junior class business major at Carroll College, is one of the club’s activities in preparation for the upcoming national competition.
Colton Welhaven, a freshman at Carroll who is majoring in finance and accounting, was handing out the fliers, as was Allie Reynolds, who is a junior studying public relations and communication.
Welhaven said he’s volunteered at the food bank in his hometown of Billings. He understands what hunger means to families.
“I feel it’s definitely a need that’s growing in our community,” he said.
“This is just the one I decided to commit my time to,” Reynolds said, of why she was spending her Saturday morning on behalf of Helena Food Share.
The club is trying to collect 5,000 pounds of food by the end of the month, and on the day before the Super Bowl, club members were using that occasion to try and encourage donations.
Club members had been at Van’s Thriftway on Friday evening soliciting donations. Broncos fan or Seahawks fan? Donated food was filling plastic crates set aside for that purpose and suggesting there were more Seahawk fans stopping in than those for the Broncos. Some 38 crates of food overall were collected on Friday evening.
Those shoppers who accepted the fliers, Reynolds said, were acknowledging the club members’ efforts and that there are people who need help obtaining food.
Paula Vander Jagt, an owner of Van’s Thriftway, was working across the store from where the food drive was in progress and said the store likes to help Helena Food Share as much as it can.
Allowing the students to solicit donations, she said, is a way for the store to participate in their effort.
Lara Sullivan was among the shoppers who donated food.
“It’s important as a community member to help out everybody,” she said.
“It would be really hard for me to buy all this food and not buy for other people too.”
Missy Sampson brought over a donation as her mother, Raelee, watched.
“It’s good to see, and I want my kids to do the same thing,” she said of the food drive.
“It’s good for them to know it’s not all about them.
“My kids are really fortunate,” she said. “We can walk into the store and we can buy fruits and vegetables. I hope they see that’s not always the case.”
Debby and Roy Hansmann brought over a bag of food in response to the club members’ request for donations.
“There’s incredible need in the community,” Debby Hansmann said, adding that she and her husband have been volunteers at Helena Food Share for a year and a half.
The community’s generosity toward those who are hungry amazes her, she said.
Jeff Malles opened his wallet to help Helena Food Share and explained his support by saying, “That’s a very important thing to help people who need food. “It’s a blessing for the community.”
Cans of tuna, boxes of cereal and crackers, bags of sugar and flour and cans of soup and fruit filled the crates. White plastic bags filled with donations sat on the floor next to the crates.
A woman who feigned a scowl as she accepted a flier said she was a 49ers’ fan and was holding a grudge. Her team saw its Super Bowl hopes crushed by the Seahawks.
“Any of these items?” she asked to be sure of what she could purchase to help Helena Food Share. Morigeau told her yes.
Kate Hampton brought over boxes of cereal for the food drive.
“They’re just an exceptional organization that’s helped so many families,” Hampton said.
Barry Anderson made a donation of food as well.
“I always do because they need it,” he said of his willingness to support Helena Food Share. “I’m very blessed anyway so I do what I can to help.”