WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Students at Edward W. Morley Elementary School in West Hartford gave back to the community on Thursday during the 29th annual Red Wagon Food Drive.

Instead of a regular school day on Thursday, students and staff pulled red wagons full of donated items to West Hartford’s food pantry.

The elementary school staff said that the students have been collecting various food items for a couple of weeks now.

“Mostly nonperishable food items, canned goods, cereal, pasta, things like that,” said Ryan Cleary, principal of Morley Elementary School. “The food pantry is a great partner with us.”

The mission is filled with a lifetime of lessons, that many parents agree are important for children to begin learning now.

“I want him to understand that there’s other people out there in need of food during the holidays and we’re here to help them,” said Nicholas Latta, a parent.

Students plan to walk over a mile to drop off more than 2,000 nonperishable food items. These items will be stored in the food pantry located right in the town hall.

“We have a crew that will sort them and then they will be disturbed to members of the community in need,” said Nancy Stockman, the food pantry coordinator.

The food pantry accepts donations all year long but the need is especially high during the holiday season.

“Food prices are really staggering, so this is really helpful to so many families who may never had the need to come to a food pantry before to fill their shelves,” West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor said.