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Home » Camp Guernsey holds inaugural “Cans for Kids” Food Drive to combat food insecurity in Wyoming

Camp Guernsey holds inaugural “Cans for Kids” Food Drive to combat food insecurity in Wyoming

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Story by By Joseph Coslett Jr., Wyoming National Guard Public Affairs Office

Camp Guernsey, a joint training center for the Wyoming Military Department, hosted its inaugural “Cans for Kids” Food Drive, bringing together the entire Camp Guernsey community to support the school backpack program on Dec. 18, 2023. 

“We are trying to do this from multiple fronts, getting food for the families and our local community where Camp Guernsey has a big impact, along with supporting the Guernsey economy by encouraging outside units to participate by making more purchases within Guernsey,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Whitley, the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Camp Guernsey operations and the event organizer. 

The food drive was initiated to benefit the local school backpack program, a common initiative in most towns that fills kids’ backpacks with essential food items. This program aims to assist families struggling to provide three nourished meals per week for their children. Currently, 86,000 Wyoming residents face food insecurity, as reported by the Wyoming Hunger Initiative.

Zane Walker, Camp Guernsey national resources specialist and winner of the drive, expressed the team’s motivation for participating in the event, saying, “We participated because we thought it was a great way to bring competitive spirit to the team while also doing something great for the community. We have family and friends throughout our great communities, and we know that there are people in need that this will help.” 

While this was the first “Cans for Kids Food Drive,” Whitley announced plans for its annual recurrence and cooperation with all units training at Camp Guernsey to encourage participation. The goal is to collect 10 cans of nonperishable items from every unit, with approximately 350 units training at Camp Guernsey each year. 

“If we can inspire each other to be better employees, spouses, parents, and neighbors, then when we go back home after work and inspire our neighbors, spouses, and children, they, in return, will inspire each other,” Whitley said. “We will raise the community together to be the best version of ourselves.”

Camp Guernsey’s efforts also align with the Wyoming Hunger Initiative, championed by the First Lady of Wyoming, Jennie Gordon, and the state’s commander in chief. The organization’s mission is to ensure nourished kids, healthy families, and thriving communities.

“I am super proud of how everyone at Camp Guernsey came together for this,” Whitley said. “I’m especially thankful to Art Lowther and Jen Merlino for helping with this and the support of the leadership at Camp Guernsey, as none of this can happen without them and the operations team.”