A food drive which aims to collect tons of provisions for Buffalonians in need will kick off Tuesday at Canisius High School.
The Great Ignatian Challenge, in which Canisius participates in a friendly – but spirited – competition with other Jesuit high schools across the Northeast to provide food to the needy for the holiday season, will be held from Tuesday, Oct. 26 to Friday, Nov. 19.
Food collected by Canisius during the drive will go to St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, which cares for the poor and abandoned in Western New York and strives to meet their needs for food, clothing, shelter and basic necessities. Canisius will deliver all donations to St. Luke’s Mission’s Walden Ave. location in time for the holidays.
The entire Western New York community is encouraged to participate to help those in need. Non-perishable food can be donated at Canisius High School, 1180 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, on school days (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) during the drive.
Canisius will also be hosting a drive-thru food drop-off event at the school from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6.
The following non-perishable items have been requested by St. Luke’s: canned food (including corn), boxed rice, pasta, canned sauce (including cranberry), stuffing, brownie mix, macaroni and cheese, corn muffin mix, peanut butter & jelly and ramen noodles.
“A key component of Jesuit education is 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 to show our care for the community through our actions.”
Last year, Canisius collected nearly 12,000 pounds of food, thanks to students, their families, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater Buffalo community.
This is the sixth year of the Great Ignatian Challenge, and the second year that Canisius has participated. The contest grew from nine to 15 schools this year. The Challenge is intended to raise students’ awareness of hunger and inspire them to act by working to fill their local food banks and pantries with tens of thousands of pounds of much-needed provisions.
Last year, participating schools collected and distributed over 168,000 pounds of food.
Since the initiative began in 2016, the Great Ignatian Challenge has collected 302 tons of food and distributed it across local food banks, community centers and aid organizations.
The Great Ignatian Challenge is the creation of Jim Rowen, an alumnus of 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 participating Jesuit high schools are: Boston College High School (Boston, MA); Cheverus High School (Portland, ME); Canisius High School (Buffalo, NY); Fairfield Prep (Fairfield, CT); Fordham Preparatory School (Bronx, NY); Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, MD); Gonzaga College High School (Washington, DC); Loyola Blakefield (Towson, MD); Loyola School (Manhattan, NY); McQuaid Jesuit High School (Rochester, NY); Regis High School (Manhattan, NY); Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School (Philadelphia, PA); Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ); Scranton Prep (Scranton, PA); Xavier High School (Manhattan, NY).