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Helmut Schmidt, Published November 20 2010

Fill the Dome food drive in full swing as climax approaches

Red River Valley area residents are urged to crack open their wallets and their kitchen cupboards and give as much as they can spare in the next few days as the fourth annual Fill the Dome drive comes to its climax on Tuesday.

This year’s student-led drive aims to collect 110 tons of nonperishable food and $110,000, said Fargo South High School senior Jennifer Storm.

As in the three previous Fill the Dome events, the aim is to fill the Fargodome floor with food for the region’s food shelves and soup kitchens.

So far, the group has raised $70,000 to $80,000 in cash, she said Friday.

“We still need to work a little bit harder,” Storm said.

The $110,000 could potentially buy 550,000 meals, organizers said.

Area residents who wish to donate can go online to www.fillthedome.org and follow the links to give using a credit card. Checks can be mailed to: Impact Fill The Dome Fund, 4152 30th Ave. S., Suite 102, Fargo, ND 58104-8403.

There are several ways to donate food, Storm said:

“Definitely feel free to bring that food in,” Storm said.

Food can also be dropped off Tuesday before the 9 a.m. news conference ending the drive. Organizers have said any donations arriving after that will not be turned away because it will take volunteers several hours to pack up the food and transport it to the food bank.

Tomato soup and peanut butter are items the food bank says are popular, Storm said.

“The need in our community and in our state (for food) is incredibly high,” she said.

Volunteers are also needed to pack up the food to move it from the Fargodome floor between 9 a.m. and noon, organizers said.

As in years past, schools in and around the metro area are competing to see who can collect the most food.

At Fargo Oak Grove Lutheran School, students brought some fun to the competition with a CANstruction event Friday, building structures with the nonperishable food they collected.

The Grover middle and high school students collected 6 tons of food, said Oak Grove spokeswoman AnnMarie Campbell.

The senior class won with their version of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Campbell said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583