Jesuit High School's annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive was bigger and better than ever in 2019, reaching more families in the community than ever before – 280 – and helping them celebrate Thanksgiving with a special holiday meal.
It all came together Sunday (Nov. 24), as Jesuit students/families packed and delivered the drive-record 280 abundant Thanksgiving meals to local families in need. Each "basket" – a large cardboard box – was filled with a large frozen turkey and all the sides (stuffing, applesauce, vegetables, gravy, rolls, etc.) and supplies (cooking pans + $20 Walmart gift cards).
Last year was the first time the basket drive had exceeded 200 families served. Of this year's 280, 210 were distributed to seven local Boys & Girls Clubs, each basket designated to one of 30 families at each club. Another 60 were delivered to families in the Migrant Education Program, and 10 more were brought to families with children at Alexander Elementary School.
Jesuit's Director of Community Service, Andy Wood '92 launched the drive at Convocation in late October, challenging the students to raise more than $400 in each homeroom via weekly collections, to guarantee that Jesuit could produce the 280 baskets. The students responded by raising $13,869 via homeroom collections, which was combined with funds generated on the Homecoming Fun Day ($3,771) and a Mothers' Club bake sale and exceeded $18,000 – enough money to purchase all of the food and supplies plus the gift cards.
The turkeys once again were provided by the Jesuit community via the Jesuit Dads' Club, which accumulated more than 300 of the 10- to 14-pound frozen turkeys last week via collections during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. Friday afternoon (Nov. 22), Wood arrived on campus with all of the bulk-purchased side items, and dozens of students helped unload and stack the items in the cafeteria.
Then on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, as is custom every year, Jesuit students and family members celebrated Mass on campus at 10:00am before everyone gathered in the cafeteria for brunch and to prepare the "baskets." After the baskets were packed the deliveries began, with the Jesuit families fanning out across the county to bring each basket to a specific family that had registered to receive it.
Thank you to everyone who made the 2019 Thanksgiving Basket Drive a success! Click here for a Ch. 13 WTVT-FOX story about the drive, and click here for a Ch. 8 WFLA-NBC segment. Please view a photo slideshow below: