In a return to the kind of Thanksgiving Food Drive generations of Bullpups remember well, students in the past two weeks have been canvassing neighborhoods, grocery stores, and their own pantries for food. They filled classrooms and then carloads and busloads. Those cans, boxes, and bags are now in homes and pantries throughout Spokane. It is a testament to the strength of this community that year-in, year-out—even amid a persisting pandemic—Prep shows up for those in need.
“There are more food insecure people in the Spokane community than there were pre-pandemic. Gonzaga Prep students acknowledge the gritty reality of the world, and rise to the occasion through the Food Drive,” says Elizabeth Slamkowski, Director of Christian Service at Gonzaga Prep.
This year, more than 30 homeroom classes, teachers, staff, parents, and alumni worked together to collect food that is then divvied up to fill the pantries of individual families. The donations will support the individual families as well as two Native American tribes, 2nd Harvest Food Bank, Gonzaga Family Haven, and a number of small food pantries.
“Students respond enthusiastically to the food drive because they know they belong to the wider Spokane community and that some folks in that community are suffering,” Slamkowski says. “They truly are ‘lifelong learners in service to others.’ “
Gonzaga Prep’s Food Drive is one of the largest and longest-running in the Inland Northwest. For more than 60 years, Gonzaga Prep students have committed to collecting food for those in our community who are most in need. According to the USDA, 1 in 6 households with children in the U.S. have difficulty putting food on the table.
"We know that a food drive won't strip many of these people from the burdens of poverty or pull them out of tough times, but it does offer hope, or relief, or a momentary reminder that they have not been forgotten. And we receive the same hope — that we belong to each other," Slamkowski said.
2021 FAST FACTS
How much food did we collect?
• We estimate the school collected 120,000 pounds.
• With the $7 donated by each student we purchased 300 turkeys and 320 pumpkin pies.
Where did the food go?
• On Nov. 24 students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni delivered the food to 150
individual families in their homes.
• Deliveries were made to numerous apartment buildings and shelters for formerly homeless
families: Donna Hanson Haven, Sisters Haven, The Delaney, Pope Francis Haven,
Fr. Bach Haven, and Buder Haven, Jacklin Haven, Fahey West, Schweitzer Haven, Cathedral
Plaza (30 families each) and St. Margaret’s Shelter (17 families), and Gonzaga
Family Haven (17 families), and the Post Falls Food Bank, totaling about 400
• Several groups came to Prep and picked up food for their food pantries which they
shared with their communities. Those groups included: the Colville Native American tribe, Mary Queen food pantry, and St. Thomas More food pantry, It’s estimated at least 100 families receive help from these groups.
We donated approximately 15,000 pounds of food to the Second Harvest trailer.