SCOTTSBLUFF — The North Platte Natural Resources District held its second annual Bean Day on Oct. 30, bringing in food donations for CAPWN, Western Nebraska Veterans Home, and the CatPack/PupPack programs.

The NRD held a food donation contest among its employees, which brought in 1,680 pounds of foodstuffs.

“Some of them got very competitive,” General Manager John Berge said, “and brought in additional food this morning to try and win.”

The winning team, which brought in 438 pounds of food, was comprised of Kyle Ann Hopkins, Carolyn Hudson, Jody Fiscus, Dave Christian, Lynn Okicki, and Danielle Schafer.

Western Sugar also donated 200 pounds of sugar, and Trinidad and Kelley Bean donated 2,500 and 2,000 pounds of beans, respectively.

In addition to the food donated by the NRD’s employees and from businesses, Berge added that the NRD has donated 800 pounds of produce grown in its new geothermal greenhouse, which opened in March.

“We’re still growing tomatoes in late October,” he said. “We’ve got all kinds of citrus plants, we’ve got banana plants, we’ve got a lot of tropical stuff going on there, even though we’re all wearing jackets and sweaters out here today.”

Gina Cannon, a volunteer with CatPack/PupPack program in Scottsbluff and Gering, said the donation will be used to ensure students have food at home. The program serves 120 students in Scottsbluff and 90 in Gering.

“Research showed that when kids come back to school on Monday ready to learn,” she said, “the discipline referrals were down and teachers didn’t need to feed them in their seats to get them going.”

CAPWN Community House Service Director Carmen Trevino said her group helps ensure families can stay fed in times of financial difficulties.

“We see people every day who have food insecurities,” she said. “When we’re able to provide food necessary to the household, that allows them to spend some of their money on other needs that they have.”

The donation ensures that, at least for a time, the program has some food in store.

“As soon as our food comes in, it goes out,” she said. “A donation this large ensures we have food for a longer period time.”

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