Five Metro-area Jesuit high schools announced the launch of their annual Thanksgiving food drives to raise awareness of hunger in our communities while filling local food banks and pantries with tens of thousands of pounds of much-needed provisions for needy families. This friendly but spirited competition, called The Great Ignatian Challenge, will run from October 18 through November 18, 2016.
An anonymous donor who was inspired by the existing Thanksgiving food drives at each school has pledged up to $250,000 for tuition assistance at the five participating schools. Intended to further highlight the spirit of giving and generosity among the student bodies at Jesuit high schools in the Metro area, the donation will be divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student.
The participating schools—Fordham Preparatory School, Loyola School, Regis High School, Saint Peter’s Prep, and Xavier High School—are sponsored by the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits). Last year alone, the schools collectively raised well over 100,000 cans of food and are expected to surpass that total in the spirit of the Challenge.
The Challenge derives its name from the 16th-century saint, Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, who 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." These five schools are putting those words into action.
Fordham Prep senior, Myles Nuzzi, who serves as co-chair of the school's Hunger Awareness Committee, said, "The Ignatian way is to make a difference in the lives of those in need. By donating to the Great Ignatian Challenge, we have the opportunity to make that difference."
Siobhan Kiernan, Loyola class of '17, said, "As students in a Jesuit school, we are committed to being women and men for others. Through participating in The Great Ignatian Challenge, we are doing just that—collectively serving those who are in need of food in our communities. While we can't solve the larger issue of world hunger, we are making an impact in our own way."
Skakel McCooey '17 and Randall Zuccalmaglio '17, President and Vice President of Regis High School Student Government respectively, said, "We're committed to the Jesuit tradition of service and are looking forward to using the Challenge as a conduit for our student body to have a significant impact upon our community."
Chirayu Shah, '17, student council representative at Saint Peter’s Prep, said, "Prep's food pantry is a great way for students to connect with the local community. By volunteering, we are able to help put food on the tables of many. Now, through this challenge, we will be able to connect with the other Jesuit schools in the area as well."
Isaiah Blake '17, President of The Spectrum, a student-led social justice organization at Xavier, said, "As students at a Jesuit school, we are called to live a faith that does justice. This challenge gives us the opportunity to do that and to make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers."
The food collected at each school will be distributed as follows:
Fordham Prep — Concourse House, Mercy Center and Part of the Solution (P.O.T.S.)
Loyola School — The New York Common Food Pantry and The Dwelling Place
Regis High School — Ne York Common Pantry and Jan Hus's Urban Outreach Program
Saint Peter’s Prep — Saint Peter’s Prep Food Bank
Xavier High School — Xavier Mission of the Church of St. Francis Xavier
A key component of a Jesuit education is caring for the wider community which allows students to gain first-hand knowledge of local, national, and global issues. Through service to the community, the students prepare for the day when they will participate in their world as competent, concerned, and responsible members who are committed to social justice.
For more information, visit regis.org/fooddrive.