Before the crack of dawn, Cape Police officers were on the Oasis Charter School campus along with a huge truck from the Harry Chapin Food Bank, filling it with canned goods and other items for the area's neediest people.
The Cape Coral Police Department on Thursday collected nearly two tons of food from the Oasis High and Elementary schools as a way to help the community.
The children, teachers and parents have been gathering food for weeks in preparation for the event.
Members of the CCPD gather for a photo during the Cape Coral Police Dept. food drive at Oasis Elementary School on Thursday.
Assistant Police Chief Lisa Barnes said it is very important to collect food more than as Thanksgiving is just around the corner
"With the holidays coming up, we want to make sure families in the community are fed. There was a ton of food there, so we got it all together so it could go to the food bank," Barnes said. "We are part of the community. So, we want to help those in need. There are a lot of families who need help and we are more than happy to step up."
Joshua Zedd, a fifth-grade teacher who also works with K-Kids, a group of children who perform charity work for the local Kiwanis, said they collected food for Oasis families as well as money for the food bank.
"Every year we collect money to help our own through a program called HOOTS (Helping Our Own Through Service), and this year the CCPD came we branched out to give our donations to them as well," Zedd said.
The K-Kids meet once a month to perform community service.
Tyler Feichthaler, a K-Kid, said they wanted to help the police.
"It's very cool to help people because when you do, you feel good about it," Feichthaler said.
The CCPD and truck arrived at the high school to pick up food at 6 a.m. before going to the elementary school to pick up there, albeit a little late as it came just as parents were dropping their kids off.
Officer Clint Adkinson, the school resource officer, helped put the event together. He said the two groups have partnered to collect food for the past five years, and have expanded the program to the charter schools, including Christa McAuliffe Elementary, with more potentially on the way.
"The idea of expanding this is on the table and one we'd like to explore. It's a very easy and fluid arrangement at the charter schools," Adkinson said. "With the others we would have to talk with the Lee County Public Schools.
The middle school did not take part, as it is taking part in two other food drives.
Up next for the department is the Holiday Heroes food drive, where they will again partner with food bank to collect donations at area Walmarts on Thursday starting at 1 p.m., featuring the CCPD SWAT team.