The canned food drive, a big part of the Roncalli experience, was a huge success with students and staff raising nearly $35,000 for various agencies such as St. Vincent De Paul, Officer David Moore Food Pantry, Hunger Inc. Food Pantry, and other Catholic charities.
Student Council moderator Mrs. Brittany Ratcliff was in charge of this year’s effort.
“I think the importance of this drive is fulfilling our mission of creating disciples of Jesus Christ. ‘I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.’ We should see the face of Jesus in all those around us…” Ratcliff said.
Ratcliff hopes students would learn from this experience.
“I hope this is a way to encourage our students to give as Jesus has asked us. Our school is a joyful place and it can be easy to forget the struggle outside of our walls. I hope giving our community an opportunity to look outside of our own needs can light their heart on fire and inspire them to give. I hope they see that what may seem small to them can truly make a difference in people’s lives right here in our own city.”
Roncalli has been conducting a canned food drive for a long time but the Student Council joined then V.P of mission and ministry Bob Tully in organizing and planning all of it several years ago.
Ryan Costello, who ran the food drive before Ratcliff recounts the format.
“At that time it all happened on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Everyone would come to school and drive around the circle, with student volunteers taking the canned food donations from their cars and putting them in a giant semi-truck,” Costello said.
They later changed the time to August when food pantries are the most in need of food.
While the drive has changed many times in the past, Ratcliff still believes that there is room for improvement.
“I think one thing I’d like to see an improvement in is some creativity in the way students ‘collect’ their donations,” Ratliff said.
Ratcliff is worried that just asking parents for $40 isn’t the best approach, because it could be a financial burden for some families. She has ideas for next years’ drive.
“Students pulling money from their own spending money, collecting cans or money from friends, family members, neighbors, reaching out to grocery stores and seeing if they might like to make a donation are great ways to contribute to this cause in a way that puts the collecting in the students’ hands, if you will.” Ratcliff said.
As the week came to an end the students and staff of Roncalli have made a huge impact with money and cans, through the monetary donations alone students will have fed almost 860 families.