TORONTO -- COVID-19 has shuttered classrooms for the foreseeable future, but one Toronto teacher is proving school spirit is much harder to contain.

As an avid marathon runner, this is the time of year Charles Minor would normally be hitting his stride. The physical education teacher’s love of movement is no secret among his pupils at Banting and Best Public School in Scarborough.

“He’s always running through the neighborhood,” said Alexis Wight, who took Minor’s class two years ago.

This year Minor can’t run with his students, but he’s doing his best to set an example they can follow.

“Normally at this time of year we do a food drive,” Minor told CTV News Toronto. “But with COVID we couldn’t do it in the school. I thought ‘I’m a runner, I’m a marathoner, let’s go for a run, and raise food for the less fortunate.’”

On Thursday morning, Minor did just that, jogging a circuit of the streets surrounding his school to motivate people to donate to the Agincourt Food Bank. The neighborhood was encouraged to drop non-perishables outside the school or on the curbs outside their homes. The community responded in kind, donating more than 500 items, or just over 300 pounds of food. Students and staff cheered him on with shouts of encouragement and homemade signs of affection.

“This has turned into a big spectacle,” Minor said of the turnout. “I really wasn’t expecting this.”

It’s no surprise to those who have crossed paths with the well-liked teacher over the years.

“It’s great he’s doing this,” said Emma Jamed, a Grade 8 student. “I wanted to bring some food today to help people.”

“I’ve known Charles since he was 10 years old,” said David Pollard, a faculty adviser at Tyndale University in Toronto. “He epitomizes what we want in a teacher. He always wants to help. His world is much bigger than his school. He’s looking out for his community all the time.”

“We are very privileged to be teachers,” said Minor. “And people with privilege should share.”