A record — with $2,600 to spare

Farragut SGA Canned Food Drive stocks most of Love Kitchen’s holiday needs

While setting a Farragut High School record for canned food collection in one drive — presumed to be a Knox County Schools record — the FHS 2017-18 Student Government Association still had other goodies for the Love Kitchen.

Collecting and purchasing more than 16,000 cans of food during its annual two-week fall drive to aid this East Knoxville relief center, SGA made its delivery Friday afternoon, Oct. 27, in 14 student and teacher vehicles with an estimated 40 SGA members.

“We have a lot of money that we just couldn’t spend,” said FHS senior Kai Thiagarajan, SGA president. “It totals over $2,600.”

That money, left over from the $4,200 Thiagarajan estimated SGA raised for the drive, was presented to Patrick Riggins, Love Kitchen president.

“This is what usually carries us through the holiday season,” Riggins said.

“We really, really appreciate the Farragut High School Student Government Association and all the students and parents who helped make this canned food drive just an amazing success again this year,” he added. “I believe they’ve done over 16,000 cans; last year they were around 15[000]. It just keeps going up year after year after year.

“This makes it that much easier to service our community the way [Love Kitchen founders] Helen [Ashe] and Ellen [Turner] established it down here.”

Driving a Honda van, “My car carried 1,600 cans,” said Thiagarajan, who has been involved with SGA and the drive since his freshman year. … All of our cars were stuffed.”

Explaining reasons why the drive was so successful, “I went to the [Farragut] Intermediate School and [Farragut] Middle School, to the principals, and they agreed to join in,” Thiagarajan said, estimating their contribution at 15 percent. “I wrote letters to parents asking them to help. … A lot of people went shopping on their own.”

With a huge push on the final day, Thiagarajan estimated 25 percent of the 16,000-plus cans were purchased Oct. 27.