Gonzaga prep’s annual food drive brings hope

to local tables

Let the food drive go on. So said students at Gonzaga Prep who, despite the pandemic, moved forward with their long-standing tradition last fall and proudly collected more than 100,000 pounds of food for hundreds of Spokane families in time for Thanksgiving.

The food was an amazing gift for vulnerable people during the holiday season, but students did so much more. They also raised almost $20,000, which they gave to Second Harvest this month to help keep healthy food moving to where it’s needed most. The financial support by students’ families and friends, Gonzaga Prep alumni, and others in the community will be transformed into food for about 100,000 meals for local people facing hunger.

“it was wonderful to see people still be able to help out. It’s been a tough year for everyone.”

Seniors on the food drive committee described the incredible generosity they experienced, which they believe was inspired, in part, by urgent COVID-19 crisis realities.

“Everyone realized the need was even greater this year,” said Anna Shortell.

“It was wonderful to see people still be able to help out. It’s been tough for everyone,” Tammy Njagi added.

COVID-19 has shut down most in-person activities since last March, and Gonzaga’s food drive reflected the new normal. Safety for everyone was the top priority as students rolled up their sleeves—and put on their masks—for contactless food donation collections and deliveries. Students were creative, leaving fliers and empty grocery bags for food on doorsteps, then returning later to pick up donations.

“It was cool on pick-up days to see a bag on every person’s doorstep,” Zachary Round recalled.

Each student donated $6 toward the purchase of 240 turkeys and pumpkin pies—ingredients for festive holiday meals for the families they served. On the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Gonzaga students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni teamed up for no-contact deliveries to 168 families at their homes. In addition, they delivered food supplies to about 200 other families at numerous Catholic Charities apartment complexes and shelters for formerly homeless people. These included Pope Francis Haven, Sisters Haven, Fr. Bach Haven, Buder Haven and St. Margaret’s Shelter.

In this time of great need, Gonzaga also welcomed several groups to pick up much-needed food supplies, including the Spokane and Colville Native American tribes, the St. Vincent de Paul food pantries of Mary Queen and St. Thomas More, and the Post Falls Food Bank. When all was said and done, almost 10,000 pounds of surplus food donations were given to Second Harvest to share with other people facing hunger.

What an inspiring act of kindness by the Gonzaga Prep community to help feed their hungry neighbors. Thank you for being an important part of the solution to hunger.

Feeding Eastern Washington and North Idaho
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