CMR drama exceeds goal in collecting food for the CMR food pantry


Photo by hoto courtesy of Chris Evans

Following the drama department’s annual Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat event, stacks of food and supplies sit ready to be distributed to the CMR Food Pantry.

Ava Donahue, Staff Writer

 Since 2010, Chris Evans has led the drama department in collecting food for the CMR food pantry.  The annual program — part of the national Thespian organization — is called Trick or Treat so Kids Can Eat. They go door to door in teams of two or three and ask people if they have canned food to donate to the organization. 

     This year they faced problems, such as weather and COVID-19, so they had to change their tactic. They stood outside of Albertson’s after gaining permission, and asked people going in and out if they had any food to give to the food pantry.     

     “All of a sudden people started bringing bags of food. Normally we’d get two or three cans per house, but we started getting bags of food. Great Falls wanted to help us out. All of a sudden the pile started growing,” Evans said. 

     The pile kept growing, and by the end of the food drive they had received 2,054 pounds of food. They collected so much food that they were worried about shelves collapsing. 

     “The CMR Food Pantry called us at home and said, ‘We’re maxed out. We have no more room in the food pantry,’” Evans said. “They had to find a second room for what was left. This is the first time in a long time they had to say ‘we’re good’.”

     Evans strongly believes in the food pantry and what it stands for. The food pantry helps out a lot of people.  

“I am a big believer in the CMR food pantry. There are people in this school and out of this school that know what hunger feels like. And not just ‘I missed lunch’ hunger. They know what missing a dinner or two or three feels like,” Evans said. “And the CMR food pantry comes to, for lack of a better phrase, the rescue. It’s not lobster and steak, but they will give you some items that will take care of that for a short while, and I think that’s important.”

     Great Falls residents came together to help others within their community. Leading residents to come together to help is CMR Drama’s way of giving back to the community. 

     “I really appreciate Great Falls as a town. And I appreciate community service. One of the things I’ve said; people spend money to come watch our shows and as a thank you, we can give back,” Evans said. “I’ve always been a big one about theater giving back. This is a way that we can give back.”

     Hunger is a serious problem within the community. Great Falls comes together every year to help people affected by hunger. Even the strangest of donations, such as the dangerously expired canned pork they got a few years ago, helps. 

     “It’s hard on the psyche, it’s hard on the body, and it’s hard on the heart,” Evans said of hunger. “And if we can take some of that away and help them just get a good meal for them or the kids or both then everything we do is worth it. It’s worth it.”

      Evans says that participating in this activity every year with his students helps teach them selflessness. They spend long hours collecting food to help others. He says that the fact that they can help the CMR food pantry sustain its mission is better than any standing ovation they could ever get.