EL PASO, Texas -- Students and staff at Hanks High school were overwhelmed at the amount of support they received from the El Paso community after ABC-7 reported the school was having trouble collecting items for their annual 'Hanksgiving' food drive.
"Right now we not only met but exceeded our goals of feeding these 500 families," said Hanks Interact club president Christian Jaquez.
After the tragic shooting on Aug. 3, Walmart stores in El Paso temporarily banned outdoor fundraising. This impacted the students involved in Hanks' Interact Club from collecting donations for their annual 'Hanksgiving' food drive.
"When we went to Walmart we would stand in front of both entrances and exits and just basically ask anybody going in if they have any spare change or anything. By the end of the day we would leave with at least 4 shopping carts full of canned items. We don't have nearly as much as last year," said Interact Club vice president Isabella Bentley.
After news spread that students needed help gathering donations, schools and others in the community stepped up to help the club reach their goal.
"With the help of our community it made a huge impact. With all the schools and everyone that reached out it really made a difference in us reaching our goal," said Jaquez.
Even a big chain restaurant, Raising Cane's, stepped in to help out.
"The story really touched our hearts, as it not only showcased the great work Monica Lopez from Hanks High School has done for the past 19 years, but it clearly explained the need of the El Paso Community," wrote Annette Marquez, the area leader of marketing for Raising Cane's, in an email sent to ABC-7.
Locally, Raising Cane's hosted an El Paso fundraiser in all four El Paso restaurants, with 15% of each transaction on Nov. 19 donated to the Hanks Interact Club to help with food baskets for the 'Hanksgiving' food drive.
Students with the Interact Club as well as others from local high schools gathered at Hanks High School Monday to pack the food baskets and deliver them to those in need of a Thanksgiving meal.
"I've been struggling. My car broke down and my daughter's been struggling too. She's cleaning houses for my grand-kids because we don't have presents to give to them," said Laura Gomez.
Gomez has been receiving food baskets from the 'Hanksgiving' food drive for two years. Knowing that her family won't have to worry about how they will get their Thanksgiving meal this year is something she is grateful for.
"It helps. It helps a lot to know that there's people that care a lot," said Gomez, while trying to hold back tears.
Hanks High School Interact Club plans on donating the extra food to other local shelters in need.