The results are in! Five Metro-area Jesuit high schools concluded a friendly, but spirited Thanksgiving food drive competition designed to raise awareness of hunger in their communities while filling local food banks and pantries with much-needed provisions. The undisputed winners of this Great Ignatian Challenge were the local food banks and charities whose shelves were filled with more than 101,000 cans of food—the equivalent of 44 tons of provisions.
The participating Jesuit high schools included Fordham Preparatory School (The Bronx), Loyola School (Manhattan), Regis High School (Manhattan), Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ), and Xavier High School (Manhattan). The Challenge derives its name from the 16th-century saint, Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.
When the Great Ignatian Challenge was announced in November, an anonymous donor—now revealed to be Jim Rowen P'12—pledged up to $250,000 for tuition assistance to be divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student. Mr. Rowen, who serves as Board Chair at Fordham Prep, said he was inspired by the existing Thanksgiving food drives at each school.
Mr. Rowen's generous gift will be divided as follows: Loyola ($81,200), Regis ($64,000), Fordham Prep ($47,800), St. Peter’s Prep ($34,000), and Xavier ($23,000).
Mr. Rowen said, "Jesuit high schools are most often recognized for their educational rigor. The Great Ignatian Challenge clearly demonstrates their commitment to helping those who are less fortunate in our wider community. For over 100 years our students, faculty and staff have embraced the teachings and example set by St. Ignatius. The Challenge is another example of the extraordinary things that can be achieved when good people are in the service of others."
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, added his congratulations saying, "What these school have accomplished is no surprise at all! St. Ignatius Loyola asked the Jesuits he founded to form men for others. That's what these students are—men and women for others!"
The almost 10,700 cans of food collected by Loyola School were donated to The New York Common Food Pantry and The Dwelling Place.
Regis High School donated over 21,000 canned goods to The New York Common Pantry and Jan Hus Urban Outreach Program.
Concourse House, Mercy Center and Part of the Solution (P.O.T.S.) benefited from the 31,100 food items from Fordham Prep.
Thanks to the students at Saint Peter's Prep, the shelves of its very own Food Bank were filled with almost 22,000 cans of food.
Xavier High School provided the Xavier Mission of the Church of St. Francis Xavier with almost 16,100 food items for the holiday and beyond.
A key component of a Jesuit education is community service which allows students to gain first-hand knowledge of local, national, and global issues. Through service to the community, students participate in the world as competent, concerned, and responsible members who are committed to social justice.