Things were pretty quiet during the first three days of the traditional “battle-of-the-floors” food drive at KAR’s headquarters. KAR Software Quality Analyst Scott Schultz, in his fifth year of organizing the collection efforts, was a bit nervous. After all, last year’s drive was an exciting, record-breaking event that brought in nearly 20,000 items, so the expectations were set high.

But by Thursday morning of that week, there was quite a buzz.

Incentives set by competitive executives ignited some bold thinking and amazing generosity. One local store matched the first floor’s $300 to double their efforts for that shopping trip. And the fifth floor got credit for creativity when employees made a “canstruction,” building a castle with the cans and boxes of food. Parking lot traffic was a constant flow of trucks being unloaded onto carts on Friday, especially nearing the 1 p.m. deadline.

This was KAR’s fifth year of hosting a November food drive, collecting non-perishables and paper products for Midwest Food Bank. And this was KAR’s second consecutive year of record-breaking donations.

The final count of cash and food: 26,822 items!

Jeremy Baynai, operations manager at Midwest Food Bank, sent us an email thanking our company for our amazing support. It said: “Between the two locations, your teams donated 19 pallets (nearly a full semi-truck!). The total weight of the donation was just under 27,000 lbs! To put that in perspective, the average American dinner would be right around 1.5 lbs of food. So you guys provided 18,000 Hoosiers their dinner! That’s an incredible feat for one company in one week.”

And who won the “battle of the floors”? That would be the first floor, with an average of 62.7 items per person. Of course, one of those people was floor sponsor Jim Hallett, who challenged the group of 152 employees to match his generous donation. The winning floor gets to wear jeans for a week and enjoy a pizza party as a prize.

Thank you to the teams of people who organized, donated, negotiated deals, shopped, unloaded boxes and counted cans.