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Harvest Food Drive Exceeds Goal, Raises Close to 10 Tons

With the holiday season approaching, the Rockhurst community stepped up to help those less fortunate. As part of the annual Harvest Food Drive, the students alone brought in more than 18-thousand pounds worth of food, which exceeded both this year’s goal and last year’s total. Combined with other donations, Rockhurst as a whole collected 19,336.2 pounds.

The Harvest Food Drive is an initiative to help the impoverished in the Kansas City area that Rockhurst High has been doing in some capacity since the late 1960s. This year’s ran from Oct. 30 to Nov 3. The goal is pretty simple: Collect canned and nonperishable food to help ensure those in need have plenty for the holiday season.

This effort at Rockhurst is spearheaded by SGA.

“SGA plays a large role in advertising, organizing, and delivering the food items every year,” said SGA moderator Sarah Dunn. “We also rely on Mr. [Alan] Ratermann to help us coordinate with the larger Jesuit school community for the Great Ignatian Challenge that allows us to also earn scholarship money for our students here at Rockhurst.”

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The donated items are then sorted and distributed to food banks, shelters, and community centers, where they are made available to individuals and families who are facing food insecurity. The food drive comes at an ideal time in the larger Kansas City area.

“The Harvest Food Drive is particularly important right now because the food banks actually have an insufficiency of goods to give to the impoverished,” said Alan Ratermann, the Rockhurst Director of Ignatian Service.

The impact of the Harvest Food Drive goes beyond providing meals; it also brings the community together and fosters a sense of compassion and support for one another. The positivity this movement produces can be important during these holiday seasons.

“Harvest Food Drive is paramount because it is one of our opportunities as the Rockhurst community to have a positive impact on the greater Kansas City community,” said Dunn.

Giving back to the community–especially caring for the less fortunate–is a hallmark of Jesuit education. It’s at the heart of the mission to create “men for others.” Rockhurst partners with other Jesuit schools around the country in the effort to collect food as part of the Great Ignatian Challenge. It’s a friendly competition to see which school can raise the most. Since the Challenge was first held in 2016, the various schools that have participated have collected more than 1.45 million pounds.

Money for each school’s financial assistance program is given out on a tiered basis depending how much each school collects per student. This year, Rockhurst is competing against 21 other schools. The total collected here equals about 21.85 pounds per student. Last year’s top per-student amount in the Challenge was 157.54.

Rockhurst SGA also held a competition here locally. The class that collected the most received a hefty amount of spirit points. Those points accumulate over the course of the school year. The grade with the most points will receive a large reward.

“By the end of the year the grade with the most spirit points will get a full week of dress down, a class picnic and more,” said Dunn.

This year, the juniors came out on top of the class competition, collecting more than the other three grades combined.

The collective student-only total (18,102 lbs) still topped last year’s overall total of 17,156.8 pounds. It also exceeded the per-student goal, which was 15 pounds per student.

Students, obviously, play a crucial role in the success of the food drive–and not just by bringing in donations. They help with organizing and promoting the event, and sorting and packing the food items. Their dedication and hard work make a significant difference in ensuring that the drive reaches as many people as possible.

“It takes the students here at Rockhurst to make a change, and in the last few decades since the drive started, we’ve helped make a large chunk of that difference,” said Ratermann.

The Harvest Food Drive not only helps those in need, but also raises awareness about the issue of hunger in our community. It reminds many of the importance of coming together and supporting one another, especially during challenging times.

 

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About the Contributor
Sam LaSala, Staff Reporter
My name is Sam LaSala, and this year will be my first on the newspaper staff. In the past, I have always loved to write and talk to people for information that could be used on writing projects. I am extremely social, outgoing and creative. These attributes give me the confidence to say that I will be a great addition to the Rockhurst High School newspaper team. I want to write for the school newspaper, because I would love to be able to use my writing skills to my advantage to cover stories and other intriguing topics. Newspaper will not only be great for me now, but in the future as well. This subject can improve my writing skills now and give me more knowledge, and it will also look great on my resume for future schools and jobs. At the moment I am not involved in any clubs or extracurriculars at Rockhurst, but this sophomore year I plan to join a club and use it to my advantage as well. Getting involved in a club could get me more introduced to the school and other aspects as well--especially for the future. My goals for the future are to get above a 3.8 GPA and, possibly, even become a leader for various projects at the school. With these intentions in mind, I hope that they could boost my resume to get into as good a college as possible. As I progress in the newspaper this year I am enthusiastic to see what else it brings to the table.
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