The last week of the Denny Ford’s 22nd annual Fill a Ford for the Holiday donation drive was like a “fairy tale ending.”

That is how the Rolla dealership’s owner Denny LaBantschnig described it.

Since 1990, Denny Ford has been collecting donations for area food pantries. This year, after setting a goal to fill the back of 58 pickup trucks, the community came through and was able to fill a total of 66 truckloads.

About two-thirds of the way through this year’s donation, “we were doubtful that we were going to make it. But the last week of the drive was like a storybook ending in how the donations came in.” LaBantschnig said.

“It’ not we did it,” he said, referring to Denny Ford. “You did it. The community made Fill a Ford for the Holidays the most successful ever.”

LaBantschnig said the 66 truckloads was the most ever collected in the history of the drive.

This year’s drive ended Dec. 17, but LaBantschnig noted that by July or August of each year, the dealership starts contacting area food pantries to see if they need help.

A total of 33 area food pantries received donations from this year’s drive. Each pantry or shelter received two truckloads. According to LaBantschnig, the donations are tailored to each of the pantries’ needs.

Because of the generous donations from the community, the dealership was able to help additional food pantries than it had previously planned to assist.

Contributors to this year’s drive ranged from “a dad bringing his son in with his piggy bank” to those who brought a wide variety of donated items for the drive, LaBantschnig said. “It was truly a community project.

All walks of life made Fill a Ford for the Holidays a success.”

LaBantschnig estimated that there were about 1,000 contributors to the 2012 drive.

In addition to the 66 truckloads, LaBantschnig said Royal Canin USA Inc donated enough pet food to fill area pantries and shelters for six months.

After the donations were delivered to the pantries, LaBantschnig said he received letters from the pantries.

“They want to let everyone know how grateful they are for the donations,” he said.

LaBantschnig talked with representatives of the Division of Family Services in Jefferson City, who told him that the need at food pantries is greater this year because of high grocery prices.

According to the Division of Family Services, there has been a 7 percent increase in the number of working poor since last year, LaBantschnig said.

During the 2011 drive, the dealership surpassed its goal of filling 54 truckloads by filling 56.

Area pantries and shelters that received donations from the 2012 drive are as follows:

Rolla Church of Christ on Highway E, Central Community Church, Rolla Family Worship Center, St. Patrick Catholic Church, First United Methodist Church, Grace Fellowship/Faith Dist., Salem Avenue Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, Church of Christ on Highway 63 South, Fort Wyman Baptist Church,

Salvation Army Thrift Store, Church of the Nazarene, Redeemer Lutheran, Immanuel Lutheran Church, New Life Church, First Assembly of God, Macedonia Baptist Church, Salem Organization for Local Emergency, Sacred Heart Church in Salem, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Salem Faith Assembly, Shepherd’s Nook in Salem,

Caring Center of St. James, God’s House Family Worship in Devils Elbow, Cuba Food Pantry, Mount Olive Baptist Church, First Christian Church in Newburg, Dixon Area Caring Center, United Community Help Center in Licking, Loaves and Fishes in Vienna, Helping Hands Outreach in Owensville, Called Annointed Sent in Belle and the Russell House in Rolla.