West High School conducted its annual food drive and, this year, it went beyond expectations.

“We hit a record,” said Amy Whaley, computer instructor and journalism advisor at the school. “This is the most we’ve ever donated.”

West High School students donated more than 200 boxes of food this year to Central Services, which is expected to feed more than 800 families. The high school food drive has happened every year at Thanksgiving for more than a decade.

The boxes will be distributed across Hamblen County to needy families and Whaley said it is needed.

She said 22 percent of students in Hamblen County live in poverty, according to statistics from Central Services. The national average for students in poverty is at 18 percent.

The annual food donation drive began as a competition between classes. The top four classes will receive a pizza party with the pizza being donated by Arrowhead Church, who partnered with the school for the first time this year.

The top four ended with Todd Bradley’s class, who gathered 23 boxes. The other top performers included Scott Burlington’s class with 15 boxes, Tracy Heflin’s class with 14 boxes and Michael Todd’s class, who also had 14 boxes.

“The whole school was involved,” Whaley said.

The first boxes were delivered on Friday to students who had signed up that they needed food boxes for Thanksgiving.

“We wanted to make sure our students were fed first,” she said.

The boxes include canned ham or chicken, canned vegetables, pie crusts and a variety of other food that would normally be served for Thanksgiving dinner.

Students gathered Saturday to put together the food boxes and delivered them to Central Services.

“We are excited to help the needy,” Whaley said.