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THE GREAT IGNATIAN CHALLENGE
Posted 11/01/2017 04:58PM

Six Metro-Area Jesuit High Schools Launch Thanksgiving Food Drive Competition to Raise Awareness about Hunger in Our Communities

INSPIRED BY THE STUDENTS’ SPIRIT OF GIVING, DONOR PLEDGES UP TO $250,000 FOR TUITION ASSISTANCE AT PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS

(October 16, 2017 – New York/New Jersey/Connecticut)  Jesuit high schools from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut today announced the launch of their annual Thanksgiving food drives to once again raise awareness of hunger in our communities while filling local food banks and pantries with tens of thousands of pounds of much-needed provisions for needy families.  This friendly but spirited competition, called The Great Ignatian Challenge, will run from October 16 – November 17, 2017. This is the second year for the Challenge.

A donor who was inspired by the existing Thanksgiving food drives at each school has pledged up to $250,000 for tuition assistance at the participating schools and has challenged donors from each school to also take part in the Challenge.  Intended to further highlight the spirit of giving and generosity among the student bodies at Jesuit high schools in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the donation will be divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student.

The participating schools – Fairfield College Preparatory School (Fairfield, CT) Fordham Preparatory School (The Bronx); Loyola School (Manhattan); Regis High School (Manhattan), Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ); and Xavier High School (Manhattan) – are sponsored by the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits).  Last year, the schools participating in The Great Ignatian Challenge collected and distributed over 88,000 pounds of food.

The Challenge derives its name from the 16th-century saint, Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, who taught, "Love consists of sharing what one has and what one is with those one loves. Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words."  These five schools are putting those words into action.

Fairfield Prep senior Brennan O’Hara said, “It’s important because part of the mission of a Jesuit school is to create men and women for others. The best way to serve God is to serve others and in serving others you are directly serving God.”

Fordham Prep seniors Nicholas Frank and Christopher Friend, who serve as co-chairs of the school’s Hunger Awareness Committee, said, “As members of the Fordham Prep community, we are all called to be men and women for others. This is our opportunity to assemble and serve the common good. The hungry in our midst need our support. St. Ignatius of Loyola called on us to be loving and to commit ourselves to doing justice.”

Loyola junior Will Miller ’19 said, "Participating in the challenge is such a great experience, and it shows how a small community can make a big impact. I think The Great Ignatian Challenge is an amazing way to get our entire community involved in serving those in need. As students in a Jesuit school we learn about fundamental Jesuit teachings, such as being men and women for others. The challenge gives us a way to truly live out this teaching and help those in need."

Regis senior Alessandro Colangelo '18, said, "It is humbling yet empowering to know that a group of like-minded high school students could make such a difference in the lives of New York's hungry. In this simple act, multiplied one-thousand-fold, the contribution to relieve the hunger of the poorest New Yorkers is significant, especially around the holiday season."

Joseph Mastrodonato, a senior at St. Peter’s Prep, said, “We strongly believe in the idea of a 'faith that does justice.' It is our responsibility to then take on that call by engaging the whole school community in the Great Ignatian Challenge to work to alleviate hunger in our world."

Devin On ’18 from Xavier (NY) High School stated, "This challenge is influential in the way it widens Xavier’s care for the whole community. The Great Ignatian Challenge shows us that the best way to cause effective change is through coming together and performing more deeds than statements.”

The food collected at each school will be distributed as follows: 

  • Fairfield Prep (fairfieldprep.org) - Blessed Sacrament Food Pantry (Bridgeport, CT), Action for Bridgeport Community Development Inc. (ABCD), Operation Hope CT
  • Fordham Prep (fordhamprep.org) - Concourse House, Mercy Center, OLA Helping Hands Food Pantry, Part of the Solution (P.O.T.S.), and St. Catherine of Siena Outreach
  • Regis High School (regis.org) - New York Common Pantry and the Jan Hus Urban Outreach Program
  • Saint Peter’s Prep (spprep.org) – Community FoodBank of NJ and St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Jersey City
  • Xavier High School (xavierhs.org) - Xavier Mission of the Church of St. Francis Xavier

A key component of a Jesuit education is caring for the wider community which allows students to gain first-hand knowledge of local, national, and global issues. Through service to the community, the students prepare for the day when they will participate in their world as competent, concerned, and responsible members who are committed to social justice.

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