BY ISN STAFF | October 24, 2016
Five New York City-area Jesuit high schools announced the launch of their annual Thanksgiving food drives, raising hunger awareness 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 between the five schools, “The Great Ignatian Challenge,” will run from October 18 – November 18, 2016.
An anonymous donor, 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 NYC area, the donation will be divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student.
The participating schools – Fordham Preparatory School (The Bronx); Loyola School (Manhattan); Regis High School (Manhattan);Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ); and Xavier High School (Manhattan) – are sponsored by the Jesuit’s USA Northeast Province. 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.
Chirayu Shah, ’17, student council representative at Saint Peter’s Prep, expresses enthusiasm for the project, explaining that “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.”
The food collected at each school will be distributed as follows:
- Fordham Prep (www.fordhamprep.org) – Concourse House, Mercy Center and Part of the Solution (P.O.T.S.)
- Loyola School ( www.loyolanyc.org ) – The New York Common Food Pantry and The Dwelling Place
- Regis High School (www.regis.org) – the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House – Urban Outreach Program
- Saint Peter’s Prep (www.spprep.org) – Saint Peter’s Prep Food Bank
- Xavier High School (www.xavierhs.org) – 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 working for social justice.