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CHS food drive kicks off as part of 2023 Great Ignatian Challenge
Keith McShea

Canisius High School will again look to make a heavy impact for Buffalonians in need during its annual food drive.

The food drive runs through Wednesday, Nov. 8. 

Canisius' drive is part of the Great Ignatian Challenge, in which Jesuit High Schools from across the country come together in a friendly annual competition. In the seven years of the Challenge, Jesuit schools have combined to collect and distribute 1.45 million pounds of food. 

The entire Western New York community is encouraged to help.

Non-perishable food (such as canned foods and pancake mix) can be donated at Canisius High School, 1180 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, on school days (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) during the drive.

Food can also be donated at Saturday's Monsignor Martin Athletic Association football semifinal, where Canisius hosts St. Joe's in the 100th edition of the teams’ rivalry. The game is at 2 p.m. at Stransky Memorial Athletic Complex, 2885 Clinton St., West Seneca.

Food collected by Canisius during the drive will go to these Buffalo organizations:

• St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy

• HELP Buffalo (Bradley Helfter ’01, manager)

• Agents for Advocacy (Mark Talley '07, founder and director)

• Response to Love Center 

Canisius delivers all donations on a daily basis.

“A pillar of Jesuit education is service – fostering an ongoing desire to serve the needs of others,” said Canisius President Fr. David Ciancimino, S.J. “St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, said, ‘love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words.’ This is an opportunity for us and our fellow Jesuit institutions to show our care for the community through our actions.”

CHS began this year’s food drive with a special Halloween dress-down day on Tuesday which raised more than $1,200 in donations.

Canisius has collected more than 10,000 pounds of food each of the last three years thanks to students, their families, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater Buffalo community. The total has gone up each year, with last year CHS amassing about 13,000 pounds. 

This is the eighth year of the Great Ignatian Challenge, and the fourth year that Canisius has participated. The event grew from 18 to 22 schools this year, adding St. Xavier (Cincinnati), Loyola Sacred Heart (Missoula, MT), Monroe Catholic (Fairbanks, AK) as well as the first non-Jesuit school, Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, Long Island.

Last year, schools combined to collect and distribute more than 512,400 pounds of food to local food banks, community centers and aid organizations.

The Great Ignatian Challenge is the creation of Jim Rowen, an alumnus of New York City's Fordham Prep. Inspired by the Jesuit mission of becoming “women and men for others,” the challenge highlights the collective service power and generosity among Jesuit high schools during their Thanksgiving food drives. In support of the students’ efforts, Rowen has given more than $1 million towards scholarship funds for students at these institutions. The size of the contribution each school earns depends on the amount of food it collects in the Challenge.

The other participating Jesuit high schools are: Boston College High School (Boston, MA); Canisius High School (Buffalo, NY); Cheverus High School (Portland, ME); DeSmet Jesuit (St. Louis, MO); Fairfield Prep (Fairfield, CT); Fordham Prep (Bronx, NY); Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, MD); Gonzaga College High School (Washington, DC); Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, WA); Loyola Blakefield (Towson, MD); Loyola School (Manhattan, NY); McQuaid Jesuit High School (Rochester, NY); Regis High School (Manhattan, NY); Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO); Saint Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, PA); Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ); Scranton Prep (Scranton, PA); Xavier High School (Manhattan, NY).

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