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Schools win cash for Cram the Van participation
Cram the Van logo

The Great Bend School Competition, sponsored by Gifting Forward, partnered with Wheatland Electric’s annual Cram the Van food drive to collect nearly four tons of food to benefit the Community Food Bank of Barton County. Twelve area schools participated in a friendly food drive competition, collecting 7,501 pounds during October.

Gifting Forward sponsored $1,500 in cash prizes for this year’s competition by awarding prizes to the top four schools with the highest pounds of food donated per student. All donations were delivered straight to the Community Food Bank of Barton County in Great Bend, just in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.

This year’s collection brings the combined nine-year collection total in Great Bend to 82,631 pounds. That’s over 41 tons of cash and non-perishable food items donated since the Cram the Van’s inception in 2014 ($1 donation equals one pound of food). 

“This event not only gives our area students the opportunity to help those less fortunate than themselves, but also helps them to better understand how a small act of kindness on their part can make a huge difference in the lives of others,” said Mary Hoisington, member services and key accounts manager for Wheatland Electric. “All of this is made possible through the financial generosity and support of Gifting Forward.” 

About Cram the Van 

Every fall since 2014, Wheatland Electric has hosted community gatherings, school competitions, and other events to collect donations for local food banks across our service territory. The annual food drive is coined “Cram the Van” thanks to their signature fleet vehicle: a red, extended passenger van used to collect and deliver donations. In 2023 in lieu of hosting numerous events and fundraisers, Wheatland donated $50,000 cash to the Cram the Van program through a new initiative called Power the Pantry. As part of this initiative, Wheatland partnered with community businesses, organizations, and individuals to raise matching funds. During the inaugural year, Wheatland was able to raise a collective $90,785.  Over the past nine years, and thanks to the generosity of the communities we serve, Wheatland has been able to facilitate the collection of almost 159 tons (317,693 lbs.) of food for local food banks across southwest and central Kansas. All contributions are always directed or delivered to the community food bank where the donations are made or specified for. For more information or to find out how to be a community partner, visit