‘Go Orange’ drive raises food, funding, awareness

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Nearly every public school across the city recently took part in the third annual “Cranston Goes Orange” food drive and fundraiser to benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign.

In addition to the public school participation, St. David’s on the Hill Episcopal Church and St. Paul School, both in Cranston, also took part for the second year in a row, and the drive spread to Washington Oak Elementary School in Coventry this year for the first time. The schools began their “Go Orange” days on Oct. 28 and continued them through the end of the first week of November, working around school picture days and other scheduled events.

The “Go Orange” campaign is a national initiative of the No Kid Hungry organization and is designed to raise awareness of childhood hunger and work toward finding a solution. The tagline “End it with Orange” equates the bold orange color with the bold solution of ending childhood hunger in America.

According to the organization’s website, nokidhungry.org, one in five children in America face hunger, and there are many families across the city of Cranston for whom that fact is a stark reality.

Three years ago, Caroline, Elizabeth and Alexandra Cowart began the “Go Orange” campaign in Cranston as a small fundraiser and food drive in their respective schools after seeing an appeal from the No Kid Hungry organization on a television commercial. Each year since, the drive has grown in participation as more and more schools and organizations across the city and in neighboring communities join in the movement to raise awareness, funding, and food for Cranston families.

In June, the Cranston drive was recognized by the Kohl’s Cares for Kids charitable organization, naming Caroline Cowart a Kohl’s Cares for Kids local winner as part of annual efforts to recognize student volunteers who are making an impact on their communities.

This year, as in past years, participating schools and organizations had the option to wear orange to raise awareness of childhood hunger, to bring in non-perishable foods, to bring in monetary donations, or to do any combination of the three that fit the needs of their population. The food items could be donated to the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) or to any local food pantry with which the organization was already connected.

The individual drives were creative and unique all across the city, from the elementary through the high school levels, and beyond. For example, several schools used the event as the kick-off to their annual Thanksgiving drives which take place all this month, many to benefit CCAP.

St. David’s on the Hill collected non-perishables at its Oktoberfest family event on Oct. 30 and its Sunday morning services on Nov. 1, donating all proceeds to the Interfaith Food Pantry and handing out orange ribbons to those who donated.

A “Change for Change” drive took place at Woodridge Elementary School, while Stone Hill Elementary School sold orange bracelets and stickers in an effort to increase its monetary donations.

Hugh B. Bain Middle School connected the “Go Orange” event with its Unity Day event in which the students were already going to be wearing orange on Oct. 29, and asked each student to bring in a canned good.

Park View Middle School raised money for CCAP and non-perishable food items for its annual Thanksgiving basket drive in which dozens of baskets of food are handed out to local families, while Western Hills Middle School was the first to “Go Orange,” filling several barrels with food during the school day on Oct. 28 and at its first school dance on the night of Oct. 30, in order to have its scheduled “Pink Out” for breast cancer awareness also on Oct. 30.

In total, over $1,500 has been brought in for CCAP so far, along with thousands of non-perishable food items which will help to stock the food pantry for the upcoming winter months. For more information about CCAP and its services, visit comcap.org.

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