by MEGAN BRINKWORTH '16
800 boxes, 12,000 cans, 2,280 dollars. All record-breaking results.
SUA’s annual Canned Food Drive was more successful this year than ever before. As seen through the past few weeks collecting cans, when St. Ursula Academy comes together as a community, it is amazing what we can accomplish.
This year, box donations increased by 37% and the money donations by over 50%. Community Service Learning coordinator, Mrs. Platz, feels that there are many reasons for the increased participation. “The difference is we tried to put an emphasis on making it advisory based” and the Canned Food Drive student leaders “unanimously agreed that if there’s a competition factor everyone seems to get more motivated and involved.” The theme, “The Amazing Race Against Hunger,” certainly allowed for competition more so than previous themes, like “Super Can Man” and “We Can Do It”. But more importantly, it brought advisories and teams closer together to work towards a common goal: helping to end hunger in our community.
Each year after the Canned Food Drive, Mrs. Platz and Ms. Kemper ask themselves “how are we ever going to top this year?” But sure enough, the SUA students and faculty never turn down a challenge. The growth and increased success of the Canned Food Drive over the last decade has come to be a great source of pride and reward for the SUA community. Collecting 800 boxes, over 30,000 pounds of food, would have once been unthinkable, especially 11 years ago when the just hundreds of pounds of cans were collected. Two-year Canned Food Drive leader, Sophia Settle ’15, feels gratified by “being able to help so many people in Saint Ursula Academy’s own neighborhood while bringing our school community together in such a meaningful way.” Julie Platz ’16, first-year Canned Food drive leader, feels like she has made a difference because “there are so many hungry people, and so many people who have so much, that it only seems fair to share the wealth.”
This satisfying reward and the goal of ending local hunger have always been the same, but the Canned Food Drive has not always been what it is today. Back in the 80s, the Canned Food Drive was only an annual collection of canned goods that were driven to Appalachia. This small gathering of cans continued until about 11 years ago when Ms. Kemper came to SUA. The Canned Food Drive then developed further and SUA decided to donate to local food pantries. The agencies that were chosen to receive donations this year were Open Door Ministries, Madisonville Education and Assistance Center (MEAC), Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, Little Sisters of the Poor, and St. Vincent de Paul. Every year when the Canned Food Drive comes around, Mrs. Platz is grateful that “we have relationships set up with a lot of agencies that we support on an annual basis.” These agencies are so grateful for our donations, especially around the holidays.
The competitive spirit at SUA along with determination allows us to serve our community and have fun while doing it. The success of the Canned Food Drive is sure to continue, improve, and grow for many years to come. Mrs. Platz believes this year our collection and spirit were outstanding because “it’s always better when everybody is unified” and we bonded together as a school community to make this Canned Food Drive Can-tastic.