Let's Bag Hunger

What: Holiday food drive ends Wednesday

Where: Boulder and Broomfield counties

More info: communityfoodshare.org

After collecting more than 200,000 pounds of food this fall for Boulder-area flood relief, Community Food Share says it's now lagging behind its donation goal for this week's annual "Let's Bag Hunger" holiday food drive, which ends Wednesday.

Through Tuesday night, the organization had collected 67,696 pounds of food and at least $8,693 in monetary donations. Community Food Share hopes to bring in 85,000 pounds of food and $20,000 with its annual drive.

Terry Tedeschi, Community Food Share development director, said that despite the generous flood-related donations, it's still important to meet the "Let's Bag Hunger" goal because the organization is doing "double duty" for both regular operations and flood-relief efforts.

Food donated for flood relief does not get counted under the "Let's Bag Hunger" campaign, Tedeschi said, but all of the food becomes part of the organization's general inventory once it's received.

"You don't want to fall behind anywhere," she said. "It's been a good thing that we've got all this extra support for the floods because we are needing it and we're going to need it. In a lot of ways, it doesn't matter where it goes. But when you set goals, you don't want to see it go backward."

The organization has volunteers outside of area grocery stores such as King Soopers, Lucky's Market and Alfalfa's Market to collect donations for the "Let's Bag Hunger" campaign. Community Food Share usually sees a last-minute surge in donations on the drive's final day each year, according to food procurement manager Tom Reed. There's still hope to meet the goal, he said, but it's unlikely.

Reed said the campaign's totals might be low because, in addition to flooding in Colorado, people are being asked to give to relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and other recent natural disasters.

"I personally believe it has everything to do with donor fatigue and everybody's been asked for support for the flood and all kinds of disasters in all parts of the country," Reed said. "I have no doubt people are getting tired of being asked for things."

But the need in Boulder and Broomfield counties, where Community Food Share distributes the food it receives, is greater than ever, Reed said.

The pre-Thanksgiving food drive brings in enough donations to sustain the organization until the spring, Reed said. But if Community Food Share doesn't meet its goal, the organization will run out of food earlier than planned.

"The needs are the highest that we've ever seen for sure," Reed said.

Dan Prater, director for the Center for Nonprofit Communications at Drury University, said there are usually a number of factors, including donor fatigue, that can contribute to nonprofit groups seeing dips in donations.

Prater said many organizations and charities are asking for money at this time of year, including for flood-relief efforts, and it can be difficult for donors to decide where to given. People also are just starting to stabilize after the most recent recession, he added.

"If they have given a sizeable amount to the floods and then the holidays come, it creates a dilemma for them," Prater said.

Contact Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106, kutas@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/sarahkuta.