Lenten fundraiser aims to provide 20,000 meals

by Kasper Halevy (’24) | March 29, 2021

Art by Caitlin Chan (’22)

Nobel Peace Prize recipient and philanthropist Nelson Mandela once said, “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.” In response to the Lenten call to grow in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving through care and compassion, Saint Francis High School has kicked off a virtual food drive to help combat food insecurity, a prevalent symptom of poverty. All funds raised will benefit Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, one of the largest food banks in the nation. “My hope is that our community recognizes the great need in the Bay Area around food insecurity and donates generously to this wonderful partner agency in order to support some of our most vulnerable neighbors through this especially challenging time,” stated Mr. Pompei, who oversees the school’s Christian Service and Outreach program.

Due to the prohibitive cost of living in Silicon Valley and the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, hunger is at an all-time high. Aggregate data indicate that the rate of individuals and families struggling with food insecurity has skyrocketed since the pandemic began, resulting in a doubling of their client count. Furthermore, over 70% of survey respondents who have received food through Second Harvest have indicated that at least one family member has either been furloughed or experienced a cut in work hours. According to CEO Leslie Bacho, the food bank adapted to the pandemic by transforming 130 of their food distribution centers to low-contact drive-thrus and starting a home-delivery program that currently serves over 5,000 families per month. Second Harvest also connects people to federal nutrition programs and other food resources, and advocates for anti-hunger policies on the local, state, and national levels. Locally, its clients receive an average of $250 worth of grocery items per month. 

Because many Bay Area organizations that help ensure equal access to food rely on Second Harvest as a key supplier that distributes groceries through its more than 300 partners, Saint Francis’ leadership team and Campus Ministry chose to continue the school’s partnership with Second Harvest, whose mission is to “lead our community to ensure that anyone who needs a healthy meal can get one.” Our Lenten food drive inspires us to pray for all who suffer from food insecurity and to fast from luxury to raise funds that can be given to the vulnerable who need a helping hand. Although the vaccine is renewing hope for many, families who have been devastated by lost wages and have depleted their savings during the pandemic need diverse resources to help them get back on their feet. Funds raised through virtual food drives will help Second Harvest and its many community partners, whose services constitute a lifeline that enables clients to offset other household expenses on necessities.

If you are able, please help pitch in any amount of donation so we can surpass the fundraising goal of $10,000 by Holy Week, thereby lending a collectively compassionate hand to our neighbors in our community’s collaborative effort to close the hunger gap. Even just the price of a cup of boba tea could provide a family with a substantial dinner. As Second Harvest’s Bacho states, “Your generosity helps over 500,000 neighbors who receive food from us each month. Every box of nutritious groceries you help provide gives the gift of hope to one more person.” 

Categories: News

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