St. Clair School District students raised approximately 9,000 cans of food for the cops and kids food drive, according to Police Chief Bill Hammack.
For 12 years, the police department and students worked together to collect canned food for the St. Clair Agape House. The food drive ran from Nov. 27 through Dec. 15.
This year, St. Clair High students collected approximately 3,600 cans, junior high students collected 750 cans, Edgar Murray Elementary students collected more than 2,600 cans and St. Clair Elementary collected 1,660 cans, and the police department collected a few hundred cans, according to Hammack.
About 8,000 to 10,000 cans are collected yearly, Hammack said. The most cans ever collected was in 2016 with a total of 12,510. Roughly 122,000 cans have been donated to Agape House over the course of the 12 years.
“We do well every year,” Hammack said.
He noted that the drive is made possible by the generosity of the students and the work and promotion by St. Clair School District faculty and staff.
The top five classes with the most collected cans at St. Clair Elementary and at Edgar Murray will receive a pizza party provided by the police department. The 50 to 60 top collecting students at the junior high, as well as the top collecting grade at the high school will also receive a pizza party.
Executive director of the Agape House, Jim Armistead, said the canned foods come at a critical time of the year.
“(The food drive) keeps us in operation in the wintertime,” Armistead said. “It helps us get through about four months.”
The Agape House averages about 800 to 1,000 families a month., anywhere from a single family up to a family of five, according to Armistead.
“We serve a lot of people every month,” he said.
Donations from area organizations allow the center to feed anyone who comes through the door, Arimistead added.
The cops and kids food drive is “the most wonderful thing you could imagine,” Armistead said.
He gave gratitude to everyone who donates food, toys and more throughout the year, which has helped keep the center open for 32 years.
Items needed for Agape House include nonperishable foods, fruit, soup, cereals and canned goods. Armistead said the Agape House is also always in need of propane gas to heat the center.
The Agape House is located at 1095 N. Service Road East in St. Clair. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.