Alumni of Jesuit High School load food for delivery to needy families. The effort reaches 1,500 households and 30 shelters. (Courtesy Jesuit High School)
Alumni of Jesuit High School load food for delivery to needy families. The effort reaches 1,500 households and 30 shelters. (Courtesy Jesuit High School)
The Jesuit High School student center became a food sorting and distribution center Dec. 14, with canned supplies that reached the 15-foot-high ceiling.

Students gathered food that had been collected over a two-week period and assembled food boxes for 374 families in the Portland area. St. Vincent de Paul and Lifeworks identified the households.

The drive is in its 49th year and has seen a significant increase in participation over the years. In its first year, 1969, roughly 40 families benefited from the project and just a little more than $350 was raised. “As Jesuit High School has grown, so has its food drive,” said Scott Powers, food drive coordinator.

“The drive not only helps families during Christmas, but also provides non-perishable foods for local food banks as well. We are seeing more multigenerational families, families pooling resources to try and make ends meet. The need is tremendous.”

Students, faculty, and staff volunteered through the night preparing the goods for delivery.

“Not only are we collecting food these two weeks, we are raising awareness about hunger in Oregon. We hope students will realize hunger is not a once-a-year issue. It is year-round,” said Powers.

In addition, alumni of Jesuit held their own food drive Dec. 14–16, delivering to more than 1,500 families and 30 shelters.

“The alumni food drive brings our community together to continue our mission of being men and women for others,” said Kathy Baarts, alumni director. “The need for food continues to increase and we have continued to grow in the number of boxes we are able to provide and the agencies we are able to serve.”