Lara Widger and Chappelow friends featured in Greeley Tribune
Chappelow eighth-graders collect canned food for Weld
Food Bank on Halloween
When Chappelow eighth-grader Lara Widger went door-to-door in costume with five of her friends
Friday, something wasn’t quite normal.
Sure, Lara and friends Lindy, Chloe, Alex and Ponto were in costume. They had bags with them,
too. But the treats they were looking for weren’t necessarily sweet.
“Instead of saying trick or treat, we’re saying, ‘Hi, we’re collecting canned food. Would you like to
donate?’’ Lara said. “Then they donate, and we take it to the (Weld) Food Bank the next day.”
Although their canned line to homeowners wasn’t quite as catchy as “trick-or-treat,” it did provide a
greater return on investment.
Instead of a few pounds of candy, Lara and company finished their Friday night with about 100
pounds of food for Weld County’s less fortunate. It didn’t hurt that it was a good bit of fun.
“I really enjoyed it, because I’m kind of old to go trick or treating for candy,” Lara said. “So it was a
good reason for me to still go trick or treating. And plus, (the food bank) is really important to me.
So, it’s a nice way to join that.”
Bob Boswell, Weld Food Bank food resource manager, said he’s starting to see more and more
Halloween-related donations like Lara’s.
That this is the beginning of the Weld Food Bank’s holiday season food drive makes the idea rather
perfect. Whether it’s 100 pounds or 10 pounds, Boswell said the group’s efforts are appreciated.
“More than the weight, it’s the thought and the fact that young people are doing this sort of thing
rather than just figuring out new and exciting ways to rot their teeth on Halloween,” Boswell said.
Lara and her friends have collected canned food on Halloween since they were in third grade.
Before this year, the friends’ Girl Scout troop — Troop 614 — led the way. This is the first year Lara
has spearheaded the effort in the neighborhood just south of Bittersweet Park in Evans.
“Last Saturday, we went and passed out fliers to warn — well not really to warn — but let people
know,” Lara said.
Those fliers, which Lara designed, bore the text “Trick-or-treat! For the hungry,” said Lara, who
laughed that she probably needs to work on getting catchier slogans.
That might be one of the few things Lara does need to work on.
In fifth grade, she won a work ethic award named after a former Chappelow janitor.
She started teaching herself French, as well as how to play bass clarinet over the summer. Oh, and
Lara even created a pamphlet about body confidence aimed at 8-year-old girls, and she plans to
carol at a nursing home during the holidays, Lara’s mom, Charity, said via email.
“She sets her mind on things and finds ways to achieve them,” Charity said.
Much of this would probably come as news to Lara’s eighth-grade classmates at Chappelow.
Teacher Joe Joyner said most don’t know about Lara’s volunteer work.
That’s likely by design for Lara, who doesn’t seem to do anything she does for the recognition or the
accolades. She and her friends plan to keep trick-or-canning for years — because it’s important to
help those who aren’t as privileged, Lara said.
“The motto I live by is 10, two-letter words,” Lara said. “It’s ‘If it is to be, it is up to me.’ That’s what
my dad always tells me, and that’s why I do all of this stuff. I feel like I should.”
Tyler Silvy covers education for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at email@example.com.
Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.