Jesuit Schools Give More Than Thanks This Holiday Season

By Jesuit Schools Network (JSN)
Dec 31st, 2015

For Jesuit school communities, the holiday season is truly a season of giving. All over the country, Jesuit high schools and middle schools hold some of the largest Thanksgiving and Christmas charity drives in their areas in hopes of providing everyone, regardless of situation, a happy holiday.

Two such high schools are Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine and Jesuit High School in Tampa, FL.


Cheverus High School students prepare Thanksgiving turkeys for delivery to families in need.

The Jesuit Tampa community assembles Thanksgiving packages in the school cafeteria.

On Friday, Nov. 20, the Cheverus High School community provided meals to 500 families as part of the Cheverus Key Club’s annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, one of the largest Thanksgiving charity drives in New England.

Cheverus students, faculty, and families collected donations from local businesses, neighbors, and friends for this beloved yearly event. Mark Smith, Cheverus science teacher and official Turkey Drive Mascot, stood in costume at the front of the school every morning for days leading up to the delivery date, accepting donations of frozen turkeys, canned vegetables, stuffing, and the other food items needed to prepare a complete Thanksgiving meal.

The food items and cans were then sorted by the students while others entered data and mapped out delivery routes. Once assembled, the baskets were delivered to individuals, families, and agencies in time for Thanksgiving.

Jesuit High School in Tampa, FL donated 146 Thanksgiving meals to families in need in the Tampa Bay area on Sunday, Nov. 22.

The delivery of these baskets was the culmination of the school’s yearly Thanksgiving Basket Drive, a month-long effort to raise money for the purchase of food and supplies to be packed and delivered to five Tampa Bay Boys & Girls Clubs, as well as Davis Elementary School.

The students responded enthusiastically to the challenge of Jesuit High School’s Director of Community Service, Michael Miller, ’09, to raise enough money to guarantee the delivery of 125 Thanksgiving baskets. They surpassed this mark over a week before the deadline, raising enough money that they were able to add a $50 Walmart gift card to each of the Thanksgiving baskets. The $14,527 raised in this year’s drive surpassed last year’s previous record by more than $5,600.

On Nov. 22, more than 150 Jesuit High School students, along with some family members and alumni, celebrated Mass in St. Anthony’s Chapel on campus before gathering in the cafeteria to pack large cardboard boxes (their “baskets”) with the supplies purchased in bulk using the money they raised. The boxes, which contained everything needed for a large family to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, including turkeys provided by Jesuit High School’s Dads’ Club, were delivered to the area Boys & Girls Clubs at noon.

The theme for this year’s Basket Drive was “Dear Lord, teach me to be generous,” the first verse of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “Prayer for Generosity.”

Source: Jesuit Schools Network December – January Bulletin 2015-16.