Xavier students could trade their skirts for sweats this past fall – but only if they helped out with the 2021 canned food drive.
The school exceeded expectations and collected a whopping 501,863 cans of food to benefit St. Vincent de Paul, a local nonprofit whose mission is to help those in need, including those experiencing homelessness.
Senior Catherine Alaimo spearheaded this year’s drive as an officer in the school’s National Honor Society.
“Before organizing the canned food drive, I didn’t fully comprehend the magnitude of the poverty in which 1 in 8 Arizonans live,” Alaimo said. “After learning this, I was eager to plan and work on the canned food drive.”
In preparation, Alaimo shared that she and her fellow officers “wrote announcements every morning, came up with incentives for the participants and consistently arrived at school early to collect cans that were brought to school by others.”
The drive originated in Xavier’s early days – the 1940s! – but has exclusively benefitted St. Vincent de Paul from the early 1990s. The campaign starts in the late fall and lasts about 30 days.
“I was humbled by how the community participated in and donated to the drive, so much so that we exceeded our first goal of 300,000 cans and raised it to 500,000 cans,” Alaimo said. “We were so happy with the results of the community’s efforts, and I feel rewarded to have contributed to ending local hunger.”
St. Vincent de Paul was established in Phoenix in 1946 and serves Arizonans in various capacities, including daily meals, clothing, housing assistance, and other vital resources.
With over six million pounds of donated food, the local Catholic organization serves up to 1.2 million meals per year in their dining rooms. It provides an additional 400,000 meal boxes to families across Arizona.
Xavier plans to continue their canned food drive next year and hopes to exceed the number of cans collected.
“Each year, the drive grows as interest and awareness of people with significant needs inspires students to act,” Lisa Zuba, Director of Marketing and Staff Development, said. “It’s also a natural effect of Xavier students putting faith into practice as they give back more than 30,000 hours each year to community service and volunteer activities.”
According to Zuba, the students at Xavier are the masterminds behind most of the school’s community and charitable work. The canned food drive is just one of many activities students lead to give back to others throughout the year.