This year's Blow Away Hunger food drive brought in piles of food and thousands of dollars for the Estevan Salvation Army's food bank heading into the holiday season.

People from around the southeast showed up in droves at the Estevan Southern Plains Co-op to donate both food and money. All of the local donations will stay in Estevan to help local families in need. The Co-op stores in Oxbow and Carlyle also held food drives, with the Oxbow haul also going towards the Salvation Army's food bank, while the Carlyle donations will go towards the Carlyle food bank.

The Co-op in Estevan actually ran out of pre-packaged paper bags that were full of non-perishable food items due to the number of people who came to the store to support the cause.

Food bagsThe food donations piled up at the Estevan Salvation Army Thursday night.

"Very grateful for the support and the donations, and just the continued support of our community," said Jane Anne Ireland, the Salvation Army's Family Services Coordinator. 

The food donations will be made into Christmas hampers, while the monetary donations help bridge the gap between food drives. The cash will also go towards Christmas turkeys and hams.

A group of volunteers will start to organize and weigh the food on Friday. The Salvation Army hopes to have the total amounts calculated within the next week.

"Just a lot of gratitude from us, and a lot of those that come for hampers are very grateful for those that do donate and help even in small ways," Ireland said. "Donating one can is one more that we have on our shelf than we did before."

"In all the ways that people support us, whether it's volunteering, or financial, or actual food donations...we're just very grateful for everything that Estevan does to support us so that we can support those that need the extra help."