Students Stuff Trucks with Turkey Day Donations

(COVINGTON, La.) Holiday season is here, 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, and every year prior to Thanksgiving, the Wolves do everything in their power to ensure as many people as possible are able enjoy the holiday season.

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Seniors Adam Love, Joel Fernandes, Jack Bonaldi, Ty Richard, Beren Perry help organize the donations in the Briggs Assembly Center. 

Well this was the first year Lasallian Youth took on the (Thanksgiving) food drive, and it was an incredible sight to see the substantial amount of food that was dropped off,” Lasallian Youth Leaders President Kyle Schmitt said. “We were very grateful for all of the students who assisted in donating and transporting the items, and we are thankful for the support of the faculty in promoting the food drive. I believe the students benefited from the food drive just as much as those who are receiving the items will benefit. I am glad to see that it was a success, and we look forward to our next service opportunities.”

At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17, over 20 juniors and seniors loaded up their trucks with tons (literally) 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. In the end, 16 truckloads carrying over 13,500 pounds of food were brought in by the St. Paul’s student body (almost fifteen pounds per 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,” Yvette Roussel of the Northshore Food Bank said. “The school’s donation filled 24 wrap-around watermelon crates and weighed at total of 13,511 lbs. 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. 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.”

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Seniors Kyle Schmitt, Nico Walters, Jack Bonaldi, Chandler Owenby unload a truck bed of donations outside the Northshore Food Bank.

The Northshore Food Bank was originally founded as the Food Bank, Inc. of St. Tammany on May 21, 1984. A collection 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 has dedicated their 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 Catholic schools in the area, for the annual “Stuff the Bus” drive. Just as St. Paul’s and other Catholic schools did an emergency drive earlier this school year for the victims of hurricanes.

All photos by Karen Hebert.

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