After a month of build-up and preparation, Jesuit High School’s annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive culminated Sunday (Nov. 19) as students packed and delivered 165 abundant Thanksgiving baskets to families in need in the Tampa Bay area.
About 150 Jesuit students, along with dozens of family members, alumni, and Jesuit staff, came to campus Sunday to celebrate Mass and then prepare the “baskets” – large cardboard boxes packed with everything needed for a complete, robust Thanksgiving meal for a large family: frozen turkeys, cooking pans, stuffing, potatoes, rice, cranberries, vegetables, gravy, and more.
The Jesuit cafeteria was teeming with activity Sunday morning after Mass, with everyone enjoying breakfast and packing Thanksgiving baskets. The students then delivered more than 100 of the baskets to families at six area Boys & Girls Clubs, another 40 to families connected to the Migrant Education Program, and several more were delivered directly to private homes.
WFLA-NBC Ch. 8 reporter Amanda Ciavarri covered the event, and the segment aired Sunday evening on Ch. 8. FOX 13 reporter Bryan Gray also covered the Thanksgiving Basket Drive, and that segment ran on Nov. 21 as part of FOX 13's "What's Right with Tampa Bay" series. Both videos are below.
Jesuit’s Director of Community Service, Andy Wood ’92, challenged the student body last month to raise more than $300 per homeroom via weekly collections, enough to guarantee that Jesuit’s Thanksgiving Basket Drive would deliver the 165 baskets promised. The students responded by raising a total of $11,610, with the homeroom of teachers April Bombka and Lauren Hescheles leading the way with $1,412. Including contributions from Homecoming Fun Day ($2,447), and from a Mothers' Club bake sale ($643), the total raised was $14,700.
The money was used to bulk purchase all of the food (except the turkeys) and supplies for the baskets - on Thursday, Wood had delivered hundreds of pounds of food (canned vegetables, cranberries, bread, etc.) to campus in a U-Haul, and the homepage photo is students bringing that food into the cafeteria - and each basket also included a $25 Walmart gift card. The Jesuit Dads’ Club provided the turkeys, collecting 275 from the school community last week. The extra turkeys collected will be dispersed to organizations helping those in need.
Please view the FOX 13 segment below, the WFLA-NBC Ch. 8 segment below that, and view a photo slideshow below that:
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