ATLANTA -- Can-a-thon 2016 skyrocketed over its goals for the year on Friday with a collection of more than 280,000 cans at four metro Atlanta locations.

Locals and organizations alike turned out to donate canned goods at Turner Field, Cumberland Mall, the Infinite Energy Arena in Gwinnett County and the Forum in Rome.

The goal was to fill the Salvation Army shelves with enough food to feed metro Atlanta families in need for an entire year.

PHOTOS | Can-A-Thon (and Digital Takeover!)

Thousands came out from schools, community groups, civic organizations and even individually to contribute - all with the same objective.

“The only thing that means anything in this lifetime is doing something for somebody else,” said one contributor dropping off canned foods.

“If we don’t help each other out there, like, what is life all about?" another contributor said. "You must contribute and make somebody’s life better."

PHOTOS | Can-A-Thon CANagrams

For some, like the sixth grade students at Elm Street Elementary in Rome, Ga., it meant giving up a lot.

“I had to give up my allowance to go shopping to get the cans,” said one student.

The school came on a Rome school bus to be a part of the event.

“I gave up my birthday money in order to get the cans,” another student said.

Photos | 11Alive's first Can-A-Thon in 1973

The 11Alive Can-a-thon, which was a joint effort with Publix, brings a special blessing for families in need by way of the Salvation Army.

“When one in seven Georgians are going to be visiting a food pantry this year, it helps to have every bit of food that we can give out," the Salvation Army Director from Gwinnett County said. "Giving something in a time of need for these families is so important - no question about it.”

The very process brings the best out in people said Salvation Army Captain Jason Smith.

“You see charity at its best. You see the smiles on these kids. You see them work sorting these cans and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

In the end, it’s about looking after each other - and this year that’s just what happened - full pantries to feed thousands in need.