A record number of canned food items were collected and monetary donations raised through this year's Can-A-Thon, sponsored by Oconee County Schools, according to a Weekly Update email sent by Superintendent John Jackson on Friday.
Over 31,000 items were donated along with more than $3,500 in cash during the two-week benefit for the Area Churches Together Serving Food Bank.
"Your overwhelming generosity will help struggling families have a brighter and merrier holiday season as well as help ACTS meet other needs throughout the year," Jackson wrote in the email.
Volunteers spent nearly seven hours sorting items at ACTS on Friday. While they were helping outside, others worked tirelessly inside the facility to ensure the 34 families who stopped by for assistance were helped, ACTS Chairman Reiny Hiss said.
There are currently 595 Oconee County families who are helped through ACTS, Hiss said, and each family may be served up to a total of nine times during the year. The building is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The Can-A-Thon was of many benefits that have been held for the ACTS Food Bank this year. Other food drives included a joint effort by The Oconee Enterprise and American Pest Control to collect items at the annual Watkinsville Christmas Parade and a boy scout service project to collect donations outside of a local shopping center.
Hiss extends a heartfelt "thank you" from ACTS to the community, schools, clubs and individuals who have given so freely.
"I pray that we are able to receive next year what we have this year," he said.
Hiss estimates the ACTS Food Bank will distribute 10,000 units of food in the two days it is open during Christmas week alone and the rest of the current supply will likely last until the middle of January.
"Although we had a wonderful collection, our numbers continue to grow. We've got to continue to have people think about us, financially and physically helping," he said. "Hopefully they'll continue to support us as they have the last half of this year when the need became so critical."