NEW KNOXVILLE — Rangers donated more than 2,000 canned goods and dry food items to Agape on Friday after a two-week competitive drive.
The drive, which was organized by the National Honor Society, will help fill the shelves at the food pantry. NHS Secretary Paige Lehman said the drive was on par with what the club raised the year before. Lehman noted the senior class netted the most donations.
“Seniors pitched in to win,” Lehman said. “The class voted to donate with extra money in their account.”
The second grade won at the elementary level, neck and neck with kindergarteners, both averaging more than nine cans per person. Seniors and second-graders will win a class pizza party for their accomplishments.
“We’re pretty happy with the turnout,” Lehman said.
National Honor Society does several service projects through the year; this year they did a bucket collection at a boys basketball game for local cancer patient Raygen Kramer, 4, of New Bremen, that raised more money than any other fundraiser they had ever had.
NHS Adviser Gail Mueller said the annual drive generates friendly competition.
“The younger ones are usually more excited,” Mueller said.
The real excitement, however, was at the truck entrance when NHS officers surprised Agape Director Kathy Bayless with three vehicles full of food.
“Oh my stars ... people will eat for Easter,” Bayless said.
The NHS food drive used to be a Thanksgiving and Christmas drive, Bayless said, but the school moved it at the food bank’s request because spring is a lean donation period. She said the donation, along with a local Boy Scout troop’s gift, will feed people for weeks.
Agape goes through more than 300,000 food items per year feeding 25,742 people.
“You have no idea how hard it is to feed people now, as opposed to the holidays,” Bayless told the officers.
“This means so much to us.”