Ottumwa High School students donated 15,929 food items to the Lord's Cupboard in Ottumwa, just in time for Thanksgiving.
The drive was organized by the high school's Interact Club, which attended the "We Day" conference and decided to use their service project to benefit the food insecure in the area.
"Our service project this year was this can drive, and our goal was 15,000 cans, which was the same one as last year, which we didn't quite meet, but we exceeded it this year," said junior Sarah Wetrich.
"Each class worked together and it took about four weeks to collect almost 16,000 food items," added junior Treyton Damerbal.
The students also delivered Thanksgiving baskets to families in need who are missing food items or ingredients for their holiday dinners. Tuesday afternoon was spent loading truckload after truckload to bring the donations to the Lord's Cupboard.
"A lot of families that can't provide for themselves are going to be able to take benefit from this," said junior Carleigh Aljets. "We just like to get involved and help out."
For the Lord's Cupboard, this donation is especially welcome; as food supplies deplete rapidly this time of year. The organization depends entirely on donations to feed the 7,000 food insecure in Wapello County and Lord's Cupboard President Vernon Trucano estimates it loses $3,000 for every month it stays open.
"We're just constantly running out of groceries, so this is a wonderful asset to have this," Trucano said. "So we thank the high school kids and all their sponsors and everyone who was helpful in this event, we appreciate it very much."
Trucano said the high school's donation should keep the Lord's Cupboard well stocked for about a month. If you would like to donate cash or food items to the Lord's Cupboard, you can bring them to 202 East 4th Street in Ottumwa.