Xavier holds annual St. Vincent de Paul Canned Food Drive

Near+Bidwill+Circle%2C+a+Xavier+student+logs+in+her+cans+on+an+online+Google+survey+as+evidence+that+she+did+participate+in+the+food+drive.+NHS+members+worked+shifts+in+the+morning+to+monitor+the+logging-in+of+cans.

Layla Torres/XPress photo

Near Bidwill Circle, a Xavier student logs in her cans on an online Google survey as evidence that she did participate in the food drive. NHS members worked shifts in the morning to monitor the logging-in of cans.

Layla Torres, Staff Writer

Google defines charity as “an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.” Xavier College Prep demonstrates this simple definition with its own service project: the annual St. Vincent de Paul Canned Food Drive. From October 19 through November 13, Xavier held its annual St. Vincent de Paul Canned Food Drive. The event raises money and collects cans for St. Vincent de Paul, an institution that provides aid and food to those in need. 

The canned food drive is organized by Xavier’s National Honor Society (NHS) which is moderated by Tara Metzger, Xavier’s NHS adviser. Members of the society are required to donate 50 cans and work morning shifts from 7 a.m. until homeroom begins to help students and faculty log their donations.  

During the food drive, each grade level has a week where it is asked to focus on turning in cans, although everyone is allowed to bring in cans throughout the entirety of the drive even if it is not a class’s week. Seniors were week one, juniors were week two and so on. The homeroom from that grade who turned in the most cans during its week would be treated to donuts. Junior Elizabeth Dees said, “Our homeroom is getting very competitive for the prized donuts!” 

To encourage even more participation and donations, the NHS also promoted “Can Your Skirt” days. Wednesdays were the days a student could wear sweatpants or jeans instead of her skirt for only $5 or 10 cans. 

Another activity the canned food drive included was the protein push and its corresponding gift card prize: if a person donated four jars or eight cans of tuna, she would receive a raffle ticket. This ticket would then be put into a raffle for a gift card of choice. Metzger said the motivation behind the protein push and the raffles was to provide families with a well-balanced diet.  

This year, even with some students online and only four weeks of the canned food drive, Xavier donated around 200,000 cans. “Despite Covid-19 and the significant number of students who are online, I believe that we have still had a successful canned food drive so far, as we are close to our usual numbers!” said Bethany Barnwell, president of NHS.

Of course, the canned food drive’s success would not have been possible without its other diligent participants: Xavier’s faculty and staff.  

Zachary Carlson, Xavier’s ceramics teacher, said, “It’s important to always help out with community service even after you graduate. It helps get students involved if they see teachers participating as well, and it’s just fun to do.”

Carlson, in fact, won a Harkins gift card from the protein push during the first week of the canned food drive. 

Xavier has been participating in the St. Vincent de Paul Food Drive for more than 15 years and plans to continue this tradition. 

Metzger said, “St. Vincent de Paul is an organization that is very near and dear to our heart, but right now, especially, the need is so great. I feel more motivated in trying as hard as we can to get everything we can because people are struggling.”

 This act of aiding others in need not only applies to the canned food drive. After participating in the food drive, students feel compelled to help others in other circumstances. Sophomore Katie Carlson said, “ I feel more enthused to help those in need more often.”

Publicity Club have added posters around campus to advertise the food drives and other events. (Kali Riddell/XPress photo)