Roncalli Media

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Canned food crisis

Despite incentives and increased promotion, canned food numbers continue to decline

LOADING+UP%3A+Seniors+Jason+Brown+and+Christian+Walker+unload+cans+that+were+donated.+This+year%27s+canned+food+drive+had+a+record+low+number+of+participants+and+volunteers.
LOADING UP: Seniors Jason Brown and Christian Walker unload cans that were donated. This year's canned food drive had a record low number of participants and volunteers.

LOADING UP: Seniors Jason Brown and Christian Walker unload cans that were donated. This year's canned food drive had a record low number of participants and volunteers.

Photo by Andrea Roman

Photo by Andrea Roman

LOADING UP: Seniors Jason Brown and Christian Walker unload cans that were donated. This year's canned food drive had a record low number of participants and volunteers.

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On Saturday, Nov. 18, Roncalli hosted its 47th annual Canned Food and Blood Drive. 402 students participated, 104 pints of blood were donated and 27,563 total cans were collected.  These numbers signify the lowest student participation to date.

Over the years, participation in this annual event has declined drastically.  The event used to have 95% school participation, but now Rebels are lucky if 70% of students participate.

“This [is] the 47th canned food drive,” vice president of mission and ministry Mr. Bob Tully said. “The larger [the drive] became, the less participation we’ve had.”

This year, the numbers did not even compare to the participation Roncalli had five years ago, and to many people, it seems like Rebels don’t even care about the drive.

“It’s sad that the drive has become less popular over the years,” senior Emily Coffman said. “Volunteering this year was one of my favorite decisions.”

Roncalli even tried to persuade more students to donate by introducing “Pie-nals Week”, which promised the opportunity to throw a pie in the face of a teacher of their choice if 70% of students participated. With this encouragement and persuasion, more students should have donated than those who did.  But not even the “Pie-nals Week” incentive could encourage students to get onboard.

“I’m very sad that we are unable to do ‘pie-nals’ week this year,” senior Diana Perez said. “I was really looking forward to seeing the students get excited about this cool opportunity.”

Multiple organizations on the southside of Indianapolis depend on Roncalli’s canned food drive to stock their pantries for families in need. The number of pantries in need has continued to grow over the years while the number of students making food donating to these pantries has gone down.

There is also a great need for blood, especially after the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida. The Indiana Blood center receives all of the blood donated and distributes it among a variety of hospitals. This increased need blood should be encouraging students to help out, yet blood donations have also dropped significantly.

“My favorite part is the blood drive,” Tully said. “In my own family, there was a need for blood and there are so many more needs for [blood]. I love seeing the young kids roll up their sleeves and give a gift of life.”

With the declining participation in both the canned food and blood drive, Roncalli is hoping to get more volunteers and explore more advertising techniques to increase participation in the years to come.

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Canned food crisis