Fordham Prep, in concert with other Jesuit high schools from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, started the annual Thanksgiving food drives to 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, runs from October 22 to November 19, 2018. This is the third year of the Challenge. Over the past two years, the schools have collected over 95 tons of food.
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 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. This year, The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in the City of New York added their support, contributing an additional $20,000 towards the challenge.
Participants besides the Prep include Fairfield College Preparatory School (Fairfield, CT), Loyola School (Manhattan), Regis High School (Manhattan), Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ) and Xavier High School (Manhattan). The event is sponsored by the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) and collected and distributed over 102,000 pounds of food in 2017's challenge.
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 six schools are putting those words into action.
Fordham Prep seniors Ryan Fodero '19 and Luke Mathison '19 serve as co-chairs of the school’s Hunger Awareness Committee and said, “As members of the Fordham Prep community, we are all called to be men and women for others. We have been given the opportunity to help our neighbors in the Bronx and beyond who are affected by hunger. In fact, most of the food raised goes to Part of the Solution (P.O.T.S.), a food pantry that is directly across the street from our school. We look forward to competing in the Great Ignatian Challenge, but more importantly, we look forward to helping those in need in our community.”
The food collected at each school will be distributed as follows:
- Fairfield Prep (fairfieldprep.org) - Operation Hope of Fairfield (CT), Action for Bridgeport Community Development Inc. (ABCD) of Bridgeport (CT), Blessed Sacrament Parish of Bridgeport (CT)
- Fordham Prep (fordhamprep.org) - Concourse House, Mercy Center, and Part of the Solution (P.O.T.S.), Our Lady of the Assumption Food Pantry
- Loyola School (loyolanyc.org ) – New York Common Pantry
- Regis High School (regis.org) - New York Common Pantry
- Saint Peter’s Prep (spprep.org) – St. Matthew's Lutheran Church and St. Patrick & Assumption/All Saints Parish, both 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.