COVINGTON --Donations for the Newton County School System's canned food drive were down from last year, but the giving spirit is still strong, according to the food drive organizers.
More than 12,500 canned food items donated from students and teachers at Newton County schools were delivered this week to The Salvation Army and the Newton County Food Pantry.
Seventeen schools participated in the food drive that was held through Nov. 11.
Jerry Gee, attendance officer with the Newton County School System, organized the food drive again this year. He said he had hoped to exceed last year's donation of more than 16,000 items, but was still pleased with the 12,573 cans donated this year.
"We didn't collect as many donations as last year; however, considering the state of the economy I think that we did quite well with the number of schools that participated," Gee said.
South Salem Elementary School got off to a strong start by collecting 634 cans on the first day of the food drive. Students and teachers donated a total of 1,100 food items this year. Mansfield Elementary School collected the most, donating 2,265 items.
The canned foods were delivered to The Salvation Army and the Food Pantry earlier this week.
Jody Carver, Covington service center director for The Salvation Army, said the school system's food drive is the largest food drive of the year for the organization.