Christmas came right on time this year for patrons of Arvada-based food bank Community Table, as the nonprofit was able to reach its goal of 25,000 pounds of food raised by Dec. 25. With assistance from a number of local organizations, Community Table’s first-ever 25×25 Community Food Drive brought in 25,777 pounds of food.

The food drive began this year as a way to supplement the food bank’s stock in the absence of the U.S. Postal Service’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, which was cancelled in 2020 and 2021. That program was responsible for bringing in 80,000 pounds of food annually, according to Community Table Chief Operating Officer Sandy Martin.

Community Table partnered with the Apex Center, the Arvada Visitors Center, the Arvada Center and Arvada Fire Protection District for the 25×25 Community Food Drive, with each partner setting up donation bins at their locations around the city.

Small businesses, churches and schools also contributed to the effort, with many hosting collections bins and food drives of their own to help Community Table’s effort.

“It was a real community effort — not just in Arvada, but the surrounding areas too. It was a huge success; we’re delighted we ended up making our goal,” Community Table’s Director of Communication Leanne Cadman said.

Cadman added that the food collected from the drive will hopefully get the food bank through the lean months that typically follow the holidays.

“We hope this food gets us through May, when Stamp Out Hunger happens. That’ll put us in really good shape,” Cadman said. “Once the holidays are over, we get way less donations of food and money. It’s like night and day, so we wanted to strike while people are thinking about it so that from January to May we’ve got enough food.”

The Post Office currently has a 2022 Stamp Out Hunger campaign scheduled to begin on May 14.

Martin said that the effort of local residents and organizations to get Community Table to their goal was extremely impactful, especially with a number of circumstances making it difficult for the food bank to operate at full capacity.

“We have been impacted by the lack of the Postal Service food drive and the coronavirus, so it’s impacted our supply chain. Local agencies, businesses large and small, churches and individuals stepped up and it was just incredible. It gets us through a really tough time,” Martin said.

Arvada City Councilmember Lauren Simpson, who works with a number of the agencies who partnered with Community Table and is an organizer of the Chow for Champions initiative, said the food drive is an example of the Arvada community coming together for a common goal.

“I’m really proud of this community. This is one more demonstration of how the people really care and come out to support each other,” Simpson said.

A late push proved to be the difference, as the drive was 1,000 pounds away from its goal on Dec. 22.

“When you set a goal and meet it, it feels so good,” Martin said.