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A Look Back

5 Years and 32 Tons Later 

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun and helping others? Five years ago, Wheatland Electric set out to find a new way to expand our involvement in the seventh cooperative principle Concern for the Community. Several ideas were kicked around, but we ultimately settled on a community food drive. 

The main objective was set—collect non-perishable food items from co-op members and deliver to local community food banks in time for the holiday season. Members helping members. And just like that, Cram the Van was born. 

According to the USDA, in 2017 the percentage of U.S. households considered food insecure was 11.8 percent. This means 11.8 percent of households in the United States had limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Our communities are not immune to these hardships, so we decided to do something about it.

In 2014, we found the largest vehicle in our fleet (a big, red extended passenger van), removed all the seats from the back, plastered on some flashy graphics, and set out to help the people of our communities. The plan was to grill hamburgers and hot dogs as a “thank you” for donations, and to make stops throughout our service territory. 

What we learned that first year was invaluable, and toward the end of the campaign we really started to hit our stride. We knew we were onto something when the van was met with enthusiasm and generosity everywhere it went. We ended up setting a great baseline that first year with a total of 6,615 pounds of food items donated.

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