On Dec. 15, the Jesuit High School Student Center became a food sorting and distribution hub, with canned goods that reached the 15-foot-high ceiling.

Students compiled food boxes for 315 Portland area families, with leftover goods going to local food pantries.

The Jesuit High food drive is in its 53rd year and has seen a huge increase in participation. In 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. The drive not only helps families experiencing food insecurity during the Christmas season but also provides non-perishable foods for local food banks that serve families in need year round,” said Andrea Casey, food drive coordinator.

Students, faculty, and staff volunteered through the night to get boxes ready for delivery by students on Dec. 16.

“We are also raising awareness about hunger in Oregon,” said Casey. “We hope students will realize this is not a once-a-year issue. It is year-round.”

Alumni of Jesuit organize a second food drive. This year, they gave 3,000 gift cards and food to 300 more families.

“The need for food continues to increase and we have continued to grow in the number of families we serve,” said Kathy Baarts, the school’s alumni director.

Alumni also packed hygiene kits to be distributed at Blanchet House.