Canned Food Drive Competition

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Jolie Morrison

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Photograph taken by Soni Rakipi

Photograph taken by Soni Rakipi

Martha’s Village and Kitchen is one of the largest providers of homeless services within the Coachella Valley. For those in need, Martha’s Village provides two meals per day, serving 250,000 meals each year. Alongside their distribution of food, Martha’s Village also provides permanent housing to residents, daycare services, career and education opportunities, health care, and case management. In order to provide for such a large community, Martha’s Village relies on the generous donations of community members and businesses. Ranging from FIND Food Bank, Costco, Ralph’s, Sprouts, and Jimmy John’s as well as everyday community members, these donations are what keep the facility thriving. But what happens when food and supply shortages occur? Unfortunately, this is the setback that occurred in the beginning weeks of October. Under these circumstances Xavier and La Quinta High School formed a small competition to see which school could bring in the most cans, stepping up to the plate to provide what was needed for the greater Coachella Valley.

La Quinta Highschool Junior, Jada Reese

Jada Reese, a Junior at La Quinta High School, is a part of the ASB team which advocated for their students to donate. In an interview, she disclosed the entire process of promoting a canned food-drive which encouraged the students of La Quinta to bring in the needed goods. Often in the beginning stages of a drive of this kind, there is the main goal of how much to collect to keep in mind. This was not the case for La Quinta students. When asked if the number of cans collected was anticipated, Jada stated, “We never had a set goal in mind. Mainly, we wanted to raise awareness and bring in as many supplies as we could.”

Photograph by Jada Reese

Eager to spread awareness, ASB students began posting the drive on social media and even crafted a video to showcase during their video announcements. In preparation for both the collection and transportation of goods, a school van was utilized. “Our food drive slogan ended up being ‘Bring the cans to pack the van!” Jada added, “The slogan was a huge motivation for our students who really wanted to see if the van could be filled.” Though the slogan was one contributor to La Quinta’s motivation, so was the competition that formed with Xavier.

Only a few days after La Quinta High School had advertised the canned food drive, Xavier College Prep joined in on their own efforts to raise donations. With both schools advocating for students to bring in cans, a small competition was established. Each school wanted to see who could bring in the most cans, a seemingly boastful message that ended up benefiting Martha’s Village in an impactful way. La Quinta’s Jada Reese communicated in an email “I personally am not sure how the competition arose, though I’m glad it did. It was a very good idea considering how much more of a boost it gave in raising awareness.” However, one Xavier student’s perspective as to how the competition started is quite different yet humbling. Carlos Haggar, a Junior, stated, “The competition seemed to have formed out of our student-bodies competitive and humane spirit. Martha’s Village was in need of food and with La Quinta already doing their own drive, we figured that by turning it into a competition, more donations would be turned in.” Though La Quinta is unsure of the number of cans brought in, Xavier brought in over eight hundred. A record-breaking number that won the overall competition. As a token of appreciation, Martha’s Village rewarded Xavier with a small trophy.  

Xavier Junior, Carlos Haggar

Xavier Junior and SLC member, Carlos Haggar, was one of the students responsible for initiating the canned food drive within the Xavier community. Similar to La Quinta High School, the exact number of cans raised by Xavier students is inconclusive. “Though we are unsure of the exact number of cans raised, it’s evident we raised more than other schools, receiving over eight hundred donations,” Carlos said in an interview. These donations consisted of carrots, tomatoes, beef, beans, crackers, and cereals. Transporting all of the donations required a large truck.

Although Xavier was absent a clever slogan, awareness was spread through daily announcements and teachers’ willingness to talk on the subject. Extra-credit was even offered as a means of bringing in what was needed! As Carlos stated, “Although using extra-credit as an incentive to donate may seem unacceptable, it was one of the motives for students bringing in such large numbers. It was just what Martha’s Village needed.”

Whatever the motivations for participating in the canned food drive may have been, what was evident was both schools proved their willingness to reach out and serve beyond their own communities to assist the ministries of Martha’s Village and Kitcher. For this, we are all grateful.

When  Martha’s Village was in need, two communities were readily open to coming together to generate change. Through bouts of friendly competition, a common goal was achieved in which community members from the larger Coachella Valley will have gratitude towards. Though it may be boiled down to Xavier winning a trophy, La Quinta generating slogans, or simply a regular canned food drive, the efforts achieved by both student-bodies are beyond impressive. Canned food drives, as mundane as they may seem, is one of the numerous ways in which  Xavier expands its borders and exemplifies the motto; “Men and Women, with and for Others.”

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