On Thursday, Dec. 19, the Jesuit High School Student Center will become a food sorting and distribution center, with canned food that reaches the ceiling, just more than 15 feet. The JHS student body will bring all of the food that has been collected over a two-week period and begin compiling food boxes for 350 families in the Portland area. Last year, enough food was pledged by first period classes for over 600 families. Students have committed to the same amount this year.
The JHS food drive is in its 51st year and has seen a huge increase in participation over the years. In its first year, 1969, roughly 40 families benefited from the project and just a little more than $350 was raised.
"As Jesuit High School has grown, so has its food drive. The drive not only helps families experiencing food insecurity during the Christmas season but also provides non-perishable foods for local food banks that serve families in need year round," said Andrea Casey, food drive coordinator.
Students, faculty, and staff will volunteer through the night of Dec. 18 sorting and preparing the food for delivery on Thursday, Dec. 19, beginning at 12:00 p.m. "Throughout these last two weeks before Christmas break, our students are collecting non-perishable food items and making donations to go towards purchasing perishable foods. We are also raising awareness about hunger in Oregon. We hope students will realize this is not a once-a-year issue. It is year-round," said Casey.
The families are pre-selected through St. Vincent de Paul and Lifeworks Oregon. Students will deliver all of the food that has been collected at Jesuit High School over the prior two weeks.
In addition, alumni of Jesuit High School will host their own food drive the weekend of December 19-21. Alumni will deliver to 1,500 families and 30 local shelters.
"The Alumni Food Drive brings our community together to continue our mission of being men and women for others," said Kathy Baarts, Alumni Director. "The need for food continues to increase and we have continued to grow in the number of boxes we are able to provide and the agencies we are able to serve." Packing begins on Thursday, Dec. 19, immediately following the conclusion of the student drive.
If you are interested in delivering food during the Alumni Food Drive (all are welcome to participate) on Saturday, December 21, or preparing food boxes on December 19 or 20, please contact the JHS alumni office at 503-291-5414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.