On September 27, 2009, the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul, thousands of teens, Core Members, youth ministers, and parish families participated in the 2nd annual Give It Away Now project. This year we tackled the corporal work of mercy “feed the hungry” with a food drive and asked the parishes to donate their collected non-perishable food items to local St. Vincent de Paul chapters or other local organizations in need. We set a lofty goal of 400 participating parishes and 200,000 non-perishable food items collected. We are pleased to announce the results!
204,499 non-perishable food items!
166 parishes reporting in, those items were donated to over 50 St. Vincent de Paul Chapters and over 100 individual organizations!
Top 5 Parishes:
- St. Charles, Lima OH–14,978 items
- St. Frances of Assisi, Traverse City, MI–9,279 items
- St. Vincent de Paul, Rogers, AR—6,658 items
- St. Anne, Youngsville LA–6,300 items
- St. Joseph, Cottleville, MO–6,000 items
In addition to food items, some parishes collected cash and clothing. Over $2,000 was donated to food pantries for use in buying grocery store gift cards plus over 500 lbs of clothing were given to organizations specifically needing teen clothing.
As a family, this night allowed us to truly make an immediate difference in the lives of so many people of all ages. Most parishes found their local food pantries to be almost completely bare. Many teens were so inspired that they are continually collecting food each week or month.
Here are a few of the stories we’ve heard from parishes:
- Teens in Henderson, NV brought food and clothing to homeless teens living in a tunnel in downtown Las Vegas.
- Teens from two parishes in Belding, MI collected food only by going door to door during Life Night. They collected 784 cans of food in 45 minutes, enough for five days of the local food pantry’s needs.
- Teens from St. John Newmann in Strongsville, OH organized a movie night to raise money to fund their food drive so they could buy cans and be the parish with the highest amount collected. However, once they learned that the local food pantry really needed cash or grocery gift cards to for perishable items, the teens scraped the idea of becoming the top collector. Instead they raised $246 in donations, along with 1505 cans for the food bank.
- Teens at St. Francis of Assisi parish in Traverse City, MI challenged their parish to donate enough food to fill a school bus. The parish responded and filled that bus one and a half times!
- Teens at Mary, Queen of Peace in Sammamish, WA collected 300 jars of baby food in their collection of 1,501 items. Baby food was much needed at their local food bank.
What great things we can do together! Thank you to everyone who took part in our global effort to feed the hungry. What a blessing and comfort your efforts are to so many. Check out Lifeteen.com for group pictures and maps of all the participating parishes.
See you again next year for the next installment of Give it Away Now.
“Amen, I say to you. Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 40