Students at Pinecrest Academy support the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry at St. Brendan Catholic Church each December with a schoolwide canned food drive. The local shelter helps almost 3,500 families each year. This year’s canned food drive broke a school record, with contributions totaling 13,318 items.
“Serving and loving others is always the underlying motivation for our annual food drive, and this initiative allows our students to develop servant hearts and build character,” said Jake Rodgers, Pinecrest Academy Head of School.
Pinecrest employs a virtue program, whereby students strive to master a “Virtue of the Month.” December’s virtue is “generosity,” and the canned food drive fits naturally into this virtue lesson, taught in practical ways so that even the youngest can understand. Children desire to be generous to others, and the canned food drive provides a meaningful way for them to show generosity.
Pinecrest students went above and beyond in donation efforts this year, according to a press release from the school. A PreK3 child collected items at her home, accepting donations from neighbors in a wooden crate crafted by her father.
Another student was inspired to help her classroom grow the donation number by bringing in more than 900 items. A family of siblings pulled a wagon around their neighborhood, collecting donations. And a teacher matched the high school’s donation tally during the drive, donating over 700 items, according to the release.
The collection, loading, and delivery of items to the St. Joseph Food Pantry was an effort spearheaded by Campus Ministry and carried out by Pinecrest high school students.
The process took two days, two trucks and about nine hours.
“The enthusiasm we’ve seen from the canned food drive has been extraordinary,” Rodgers said. “Our mission is to form Christian leaders who will transform society, and we take very seriously our responsibility to help students really embrace their role as Christian leaders. Serving neighbors in need is a tangible way our students can practice the virtue of generosity while making a real difference in the lives of others.”
The middle school deans allowed students to choose rewards for bringing in the most items in their classrooms. One of the rewards was “wrapping” the Dean of Students to a light pole.
On Dec. 16, students collected their prize, wrapping the Dean of Students to a pole just before the afternoon carpool.
“Weaving fun, good-spirited competition into initiatives like this are relationship builders, not only between students themselves but also between students and their teachers,” Rodgers said. “And the willingness of our faculty and administration to engage with our students in such creative ways says a lot about our amazing team. There is so much goodness in the hearts of our faculty, and it’s beautiful to see our students respond so willingly when asked to support their school in doing good for others.”
The schoolwide canned food drive has become an annual tradition in support of the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry and one of the many service-driven projects students at Pinecrest Academy participate in over the course of a school year.
To learn more about Pinecrest Academy, visit www.pinecrestacademy.org.