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Food Drive tradition endures


In a year when everything continues to be different, some traditions stand the test of time. One of them is Gonzaga Prep’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, which kicked off Thursday. It comes a time when the challenges of the pandemic and the need in our community are at their greatest. It is also a time Gonzaga Prep can provide hope to families and organizations hardest hit by the virus.

“For more than 60 years the Food Drive has been one of the defining experiences of service for students,” says Liz Slamkowski, director of Christian Service. This year, Prep is reaching out to alumni who remember well the impact of food drive on their lives both then and now.

“We’re excited, because it gives us an even broader reach,” she says. 

As always, students will collect and sort food in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, albeit with some changes in place to keep all involved safe and healthy. And yes, first-period classes will informally compete for highest poundage collected. Alumni have an opportunity to sign up for a time slot to drive by campus and drop off food.

Here's a roundup of what's different about this year. In addition to now standard COVID safety protocols of masking and proper social distancing, students:

  • Are not encouraged to go door-to-door collection food. Instead, they’re asked to leave a note at the door explaining the drive and offering to return at a later time for a no-contact pickup.
  • May collect food outside grocery stores, with permission from store managers
  • During delivery to families, students may only deliver and drive with members of their own household.
  • Delivery to a family’s home will be “knock and drop.” Students knock and step back 6 feet and wait for the recipient to answer the door. After identifying themselves, students will explain the necessity of distancing for the health safety of all. Food will be placed on the porch or outside doors.
  • Delivery to families will take place over two days the week of Thanksgiving so that both cohorts of students will have the opportunity to deliver food.

Even with all of these changes, the food drive continues to provide a profound sense of connection and purpose for students, faculty and staff. 

Says Christian Service assistant Barry Barfield, "No matter the conditions where we find ourselves standing, we will always stand for and with others. AMDG!"


C.J. Garcia today
RELATED STORY: FOOD DRIVE SPIRIT ALIVE AND WELL IN THE MIDWEST. Clinical pyschologist C.J. Garcia `04, calls on Prep experience to help provide Thanksgiving to families in need


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