The annual call for nonperishable food for the Covington Food Bank was overwhelmingly answered by St. Paul’s School students this Thanksgiving season.
Student Council moderator Joanna Case, who also teaches English III honors and English IV, said St. Paul’s donated 13,257 pounds of food on Nov. 15.
“I am proud to be a part of this community endeavor,” Case said, as students loaded up trucks with food.
The donation was more than just canned goods. Case said the food bank expressed a need for cereal, dry beans, rice, macaroni and cheese, and students delivered.
Yvette Roussel, development associate at the Covington Food Bank, said over the past 15 years St. Paul’s has been one of the largest collectors of food for the organization, holding two major food drives annually.
“There is a significant dollar value attached to that food. The more food that comes in through donations the less we have to buy.”
Roussel said the need for food is great. The food bank helps approximately 157 families a day. With the quantity of food that St. Paul’s collects each drive, the school helps feed 514 families.
“It’s a tradition at St. Paul,” said Student Council president Will Murphy. “Once Thanksgiving rolls around, we get the students together, and everybody donates food. St. Paul’s is living the Lasallian principles of respect for all, concern for the poor and social justice.”
He said St. Paul’s also does a “Stuff the Bus” when students fill a school bus with food and bring to the food bank.
“We don’t want to forget about the Food Bank, so we do drives throughout the year,” Murphy said. “People are still hungry in the spring. Our students really enjoy hands-on activities and often volunteer hours at the food bank. Ultimately, it makes us more aware of the need in the community, the need for food and shelter and how much we can help.”
“They are one of our most loyal volunteer groups as well,” Roussel said. “St. Paul’s has a great number of students who come during the holidays and summer to help sort the food collected and make staple boxes. Our volunteers are the lifeblood and heart of our organization.”
Christian Brother Tim Coldwell, who is now general councilor of the order, happened to be on campus Nov. 15 when students were placing food onto trucks.
“It exemplifies the heart of the Gospel,” he said. “We talk to the young people about the Lasallian core principles of caring for those who are poor and vulnerable, and we emphasize respect. All the principles are of the Gospel. We invite them (to follow), and they jump right in. They have deep and expansive hearts. It is encouraging to see them take on this challenge and invitation. Jesus invited; so we invite. It’s all about faith formation.”
In addition to food drives, St. Paul’s students follow the Lasallian way of helping those in need with a “Warm Hearts” drive, collecting warm clothes for the needy.
Christine Bordelon can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.