In its sixth year, Joliet Catholic Academy’s annual fall food drive donated over 7,500 pounds to the local church pantries of St. Patrick’s, St. Bernard’s and St. John the Baptist.
The food drive was held during October, with students bringing donations to their homerooms. The senior class ended up with the most pounds and received a dress-down day as a prize.
Members of the Varsity Club, including players from the Hilltoppers’ football team, helped deliver the food under the supervision of teachers Celeste Mackey and Suzi Arnett.
“Our students not only give food, they deliver it to the places,” Arnett said. “They were respectful and efficient, and it’s always nice to have the football players involved with the heavy lifting. When they’re unloading the food, they get to see the people who are in need and it always makes an impact.”
“It’s not a remote problem,” Mackey said. “It’s a big problem in the world and in our community and it will continue to be. It’s a great experience for our students to be involved with this yearly project.”
Student volunteers included Dominick Allen (Minooka), Austin Bolton (Romeoville), Nate Dollinger (Joliet), Kelly Feigh (Plainfield), Kelsey Fenske (Joliet), Katelyn Gannon (Shorewood), Isaac Grashoff (Plainfield), Jillian Hickey (Oswego), Nolan Hucek (Joliet), Malin Jones (Naperville), Amy Koncar (Joliet), Matt Madrigal (Joliet), Claire O’Connor (Joliet), Mary Paluch (Joliet), Nick Rodriguez (Romeoville), Anne Schmig (Joliet), Craig Slowik (Shorewood), Maddy Troha (Joliet), Hunter Warning (Shorewood), Brody Wilhelmi (Crest Hill) and Alexandra Wyss (Joliet).
Marianne Manley, coordinator of the St. John’s food pantry, complimented the JCA students in a letter to the school. During the month of October, St. John’s distributed 566 food baskets, representing over 2,079 people, including 998 children.
“It is very nice to see the cooperative, cheerful and respectful attitude of the young people who came with your delivery,” she wrote. “Once again, on behalf of our volunteers, clients and their families, we want to thank JCA for your generosity and efforts.”
JCA plans on holding another food drive in the spring, as well as a military supply drive.
“It’s a great first-hand experience for our students,” Arnett said. “They have the chance to interact with the people, talk to them and hear the thank yous, and it’s something that clearly needs to be done.”