The St. Clair Police Department conducted its seventh annual Cops & Kids canned food drive as students in the R-XIII school district collected canned goods to be donated to the Agape House to help provide food during and after the holidays. Here, Elijah Krewson takes a dolly load of cans from inside the high school to the breezeway.

St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack delivered 8,306 cans or boxes of food as well as about $600 to the local Agape House during this holiday season in wrapping up the department’s seventh annual Cops & Kids canned food drive.

Even though this year’s total was the lowest in many years, during the seven-year period more than 70,000 nonperishable food items have been given to the local shelter through the program spearheaded by St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack.

“Still, 8,000 cans will serve the Agape House for quite a while,” Hammack told The Missourian. “We appreciate the efforts of the school district and especially the administrators from each school who really helped again this year.”

The $600 in donations brings the overall financial total to about $7,500.

St. Clair High School donated the most food items in 2012 at about 3,400.

This year’s food drive began on Nov. 28 and continued through Dec. 19. Food items were collected at each of the R-XIII schools as well as at the police department.

In both 2011 and 2010, 10,200 and 10,744 canned and boxed items were donated, respectively, Hammack said.

In the previous four years — 2006 through 2009 — about 8,000, 12,000, 10,000 and 11,000 food items were collected, respectively.

“The food collected really helps them,” the chief said of the Agape House. “It helps them through the first months of the new year.”