KITCHENER -- A student-led food drive at St. Daniel Catholic Elementary School far exceeded expectations, helping feed residents in need of help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We didn't run the food drive last year, which is part of the reason why the student council wanted to do something this year," teacher Adam Vuylsteke said.

Vuylsteke helps run the student council, which more than doubled their initial goal.

The school of around 500 students donated goods totalling around 747 meals.

"It was surprising and it blew my mind that they kept going higher and rising to that challenge," Vuylsteke said.

The food drive was done over three weeks.

"It felt good because I didn't think we were going to surpass that amount, really," said Wealth Onaiwosayi, a Grade 8 student.

Paula Pizarro, the school's vice principal, said the fundraiser helped Waterloo Region feel stronger together.

"All the families came together for something that is so worthwhile," Pizzaro said. "To help out others in this community is wonderful to see."