By Doug Hoffacker
DENVER (CBS4) – The Broncos Super Bowl win has been good for Colorado in many more ways than one.
In addition to the celebration of the NFL’s best with a parade attended by a million fans and Broncos players on late night TV, area food bank shelves are much fuller than usual this time of year.
Before Super Bowl 50 the governors of Colorado and North Carolina made a bet on the game. It resulted in North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory making good on his wager with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and sending food for the needy our way. And dog food, too.
In a related challenge between the two states, the United In Orange food drive pitted Broncos Country fans versus their counterparts in the Carolinas, and raised more than a million donations overall. The Panther fans really had game, and won that competition, collecting more than double what Broncos fans gathered. The needy from both fanbases will benefit.
McCrory released a video this week where he donned Hickenlooper’s personal Denver Broncos jersey and announced that North Carolina-based Butterball will be shipping 50 cases of turkey burgers and 50 cases of turkey sausages to the Food Bank of the Rockies in Denver, plus similar donations to food banks in North Carolina.
The governor is also got Mars, Incorporated to pitch in. The Henderson, North Carolina company makes IAMS pet food, and will ship 4,000 pounds of pet food to the Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay and Neuter Clinic and the Waggin’ Tales Canine Rescue, and make matching donations there.
“We’re all winners with this Super Bowl because we’re going to help feed the hungry in both Colorado and in North Carolina and also help our pets,” said McCrory in the video. “Even though the Denver Broncos won the game, both North Carolina and Colorado win also.”
That’s exactly how organizers of the huge United in Colorado and Keep Pounding food drives feel. The winners posted on Facebook. “1,174,555 items of food collected among nearly 500 congregations and other caring organizations across the country. Well Done, Carolina, WELL DONE! The only loser in this game is hunger. However, let’s not forget that hunger will remain long after the food supply has vanished. Our friends who live with food insecurity every single day still need our help! UNITED Methodists and all of my friends, keeping tackling hunger every chance you get! You’ll never regret being generous.”
The United in Orange food drive collected 360,644 donations at 140 collection sites. That’s more triple what was collected in 2014 when local pastor Brad Laurvick at Highlands United Methodist Church in Denver got the challenge going against Seattle Seahawks fans. Presbyterians, businesses and hospitals joined the United Methodist churches in the drive this year.
United in Orange noted “A special shout-out to the farmers of Colorado with 97,040 lbs potatoes, 21,000 lbs wheat, and 6,000 lbs beef donated!”
One of the biggest benefactors in Denver is DenUm, Denver Urban Ministries at 1717 East Colfax where Executive Director Tammy Mulligan says up to a dozen organizations donated around 5,000 pounds. “This is all an incredible effort for food pantries like ours “, Mulligan says “because this is a time of year when donations are slower in coming. We operate pantries all year, but the majority of donations come in during the holiday season.”