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Volunteer Cindy Cody loads up a cart for an order at Community Food Share in Louisville on Wednesday. The 36th annual Let’s Bag Hunger Food Drive will take place virtually this year because of the pandemic. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
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Community Food Share’s annual Let’s Bag Hunger Food Drive is occurring this week, marking the 36th year of the event.

But this time the stakes are different. Not only will the fundraiser be hosted virtually for the first time, the community’s need for it is even greater because of the pandemic.

Volunteer Glen Strand takes pushes a cart with a completed order for a patron at Community Food Share in Louisville on Wednesday. The 36th annual Let’s Bag Hunger Food Drive will take place virtually this year because of the pandemic. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

“Let’s Bag Hunger is more important than ever as the pandemic continues to put a strain on the members of our community and the nonprofits that we serve,” said Community Food Share Executive Director Kim Da Silva.

The food drive stocks the pantry shelves of more than 40 nonprofits in Boulder and Broomfield counties.

“It’s something that the community really counts on each season … and we can really give back through this event,” Da Silva said.

Community Food Share supplies food to its partners at no cost because the money saved on food can be devoted to assistance with housing, health care, education and other basic needs.

Normally the event occurs Friday through Sunday, but the virtual setup makes it possible for people to make donations online all week. This year, participants have the option to donate directly to the campaign through the website or over the phone during business hours.

Although it is not possible to staff the event in person this year, there is still the opportunity to contribute to the event by volunteering as a virtual greeter.

In addition, community members can also raise money by organizing their own “virtual food drive” and invite friends and family to participate. People can register online to host their own fundraiser and follow the step-by-step instructions on the Community Food Share website at communityfoodshare.org.

The organization is thrilled to carry on the legacy of the event despite it looking different than years past, Da Silva said.

“The Daily Camera founded this event in 1985. The fact that we can keep on with the tradition, even though it’s not in a traditional form, is fantastic,” she said. The Daily Camera is a sponsor this year of the food drive.

The Community Food Share aims to collect 150,000 meals this year. Every financial gift will be matched up to $17,000, thanks to sponsorship from King Soopers and Premier Members Credit Union.

Da Silva said the event is intentionally scheduled during the holiday season to provide support when it is needed the most.

“It’s a really hard time right now … The holidays are a time for optimism and hope and those are sentiments we all need right now,” she said. “Nobody should go hungry, especially at Thanksgiving time.”

Call 303-652-3663 to place donations over the phone this week.

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