By William James, Contributing writer
Holiday season is coming up, and while that means gifts, family and fun, some families are not guaranteed the same amenities that many of us are. Across St. Tammany Parish, almost 10,000 children and 30,000 people overall live below the poverty line.
Concern for the poor and social justice is one of the Five Core Principles that St. Paul’s School follows. Every year prior to Thanksgiving, the Wolves work to ensure as many people as possible are able to enjoy the holiday season.
At 8 a.m. on Nov. 16, more than 20 juniors and seniors loaded up their trucks with literally tons of food to haul to the Northshore Food Bank in Covington.
Luckily, all of the trucks were lifted, because the weight of all of the food was enough to bring down a stock-fitted truck. Over 13,500 pounds of food were brought in by the St. Paul’s student body, equating to nearly 15 pounds a student.
“What a wonderful way to begin our day at the Food Bank today with 16 large truck-loads of food items from the St. Paul’s Thanksgiving Food Drive!” said Yvette Roussel of the Northshore Food Bank.
“The school’s donation filled 24 wrap-around watermelon crates and weighed a total of 13,511 pounds! It is always wonderful to see the generous spirit of giving through St. Paul’s. Your students are not only the largest food-drive donor each year, but also contribute the most student volunteer hours of any school,” she said. “This donation collected today will help keep our shelves stocked through the rest of the year, as we serve approximately 325 families each week.
“We cannot express our appreciation for St. Paul’s commitment to helping the community in need through the Food Bank.”
The Covington Food Bank was originally founded as the Food Bank, Inc., of St. Tammany on May 21, 1984. The idea for a food bank started at a meeting of the Ministerial Alliance of Covington by Deacon Skip Grafanini of St. Peter Catholic Church who later went on to become the director of the Food Bank in January of 1985.
A collaboration of local churches took the lead and provided the food in the early weeks of operation. Since then, many schools as well as individuals have found fulfillment in their donations and service to the food bank.
For almost 20 years, St. Paul’s students and faculty have dedicated time and kindness of heart to the food bank, consistently bringing in larger donations year after year. St. Paul’s will have another drive in the spring, along with the other area Catholic schools. St. Paul’s and other Catholic schools also held an emergency drive earlier this year for the victims of hurricanes.
William James is a student at St. Paul’s School in Covington.