For the fifth consecutive year, Regis High School is proud to partner with eight other Jesuit high schools from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania to compete in the 2020 Great Ignatian Challenge, an annual Thanksgiving food drive to raise awareness of hunger and food insecurity in our country.
The Great Ignatian Challenge, organized by the Jesuit East Province, is a friendly but spirited competition that has distributed over 218 tons of food to local food banks and pantries since 2016. Last year, students at these participating schools collected 137,632 pounds of non-perishable foods and supplies, providing their communities with critical support during the colder winter months.
Fairfield College Preparatory School (Fairfield, CT), Fordham Preparatory School (The Bronx), Loyola School (Manhattan), Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School (Philadelphia, PA), Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ), and Xavier High School (Manhattan) return alongside Regis to participate in this year’s competition. Two additional schools, Canisius High School (Buffalo, NY) and McQuaid Jesuit High School (Rochester, NY), will be participating in the Great Ignatian Challenge for the first time.
While this work has always remained important, the Great Ignatian Challenge will take on an even greater significance this year. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made apparent wide disparities in the country, and in cities like New York hit hardest by the virus, it is important to keep in mind those in our neighborhoods who have been disproportionately affected, those who struggle in securing food for themselves and their families. On average, about 22.5% of US households were food insecure each week from May 5 to July 21, according to an analysis by Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, and for Black and Hispanic households, those rates have been much higher.
Social services agencies and food banks have been struggling to keep up with increased demand as families lose their jobs, and we have again partnered with New York Common Pantry (NYCP) to ensure New Yorkers are cared for. In lieu of collecting canned goods, Regis will be collecting online donations through YouGiveGoods, which will be delivered directly to NYCP. You also contribute by visiting our Amazon page and purchasing gift cards, the money from which will be used to distribute Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks gift cards in collaboration with Street Corner Gourmet on Thanksgiving Day. The challenge will run online until November 25.
Jim Rowen P'12 will again pledge up to $250,000 this year for tuition assistance at the participating schools. Intended to further highlight the spirit of giving and generosity among the student bodies at Jesuit high schools, the donation will be divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student. Rowen has asked that these award be used to help offset the increase in expenses related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During this holiday season that is decidedly unique for all of us, please consider how you can support our neighbors most in need. As St. Ignatius taught, “Love consists of sharing what one has and what one is with those one loves. Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words."