Some occasionally collided in their hurry to sort the donated cans, while others literally shot-putted cans into their appropriate barrels.
Its fun to sort the cans, 7-year-old Zadoria Robinson said as she participated in the annual Can-A-Thon. But were here to help the people who are poor and hungry.
The Can-A-Thon, a communitywide collection of canned and dry goods to help feed the needy, gathered 215,000 food items Friday, far surpassing the goal of 200,000 and last years total of 185,000, said Salvation Army Capt. Joe Anderson.
The goods are used by the Salvation Army to make food boxes that are delivered to hungry families throughout the year, though the holiday season is especially busy. More than 850 boxes were given to families during the holidays last year, Anderson said.
Though the Can-A-Thon began in Rome, three other sites in the Atlanta area also participate.
Elm Streets second-graders donated more than 2,000 cans. Their teacher Joyce Gaston said most of them gave food they had taken out of their families kitchen pantries.
We bring the children here to understand the nature of giving and the impact it can have on the community, Gaston said.
Later in the morning, a busload of Pepperell High School students arrived with more than 10,000 cans, about one-fifth of which were collected by senior Johnna Lindsey.
I used my paychecks from working in my dads shop to buy the food, and my dad would match it, she said. It just helps me enjoy Christmas knowing I helped other people enjoy their Christmas.
Pepperell Middle School, well known for its prodigious Can-A-Thon donations, broke its own record by contributing more than 46,000 cans of food.
A caravan of four buses containing 240 students, each of whom had collected more than 100 cans, delivered the food items.
In total the Pepperell schools donated more than 88,000 cans.