When grocery shopping, I doubt a can of green beans really calls out to you as a delicious must-have item. If you are like me, most of the calls I hear in the grocery store come from the ice cream aisle.
At Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, a can of green beans is not just another food choice, it is the answer to a much bigger call: to feed the hungry. On Oct. 5, Decatur wrapped up its WSOY Food Drive and Springfield Catholic schools wrapped up their Incredible Food Drive Competition. The results were tremendous.
The WSOY Decatur food drive brought in more than 1.5 million pounds of food. People work hard for weeks and even months, culminating into a spectacular one-day event, making it one of the largest, if not the largest, food drives in the country. The food and money Decatur Catholic Charities receives from this effort allows us to serve people in the pantry five days a week, all year long, in addition to another 215 people per month through the mobile food pantry. Without this effort we would have to limit the number of days food is distributed.
Springfield’s Catholic schools turned the Super Food Drive Competition, in its second year, into something incredible. They went from collecting 17,656 pounds of food in year one to 32,829 pounds in year two. For four weeks we collected food and weighed it to announce the weekly winner. To our amazement, a different school won every week. St. Aloysius led the way, followed by Little Flower and then Christ the King. St. Agnes School brought in the most weight per student for the entire competition.
To everyone who participated in these food drives, who made numerous trips to the grocery store, who constantly added to their weekly grocery list or engaged their company to help, thank you. You are changing hunger in your community. Next time you are grocery shopping and you pass the green beans we hope you hear the call and are reminded that when you participate in a food drive for Catholic Charities, you are answering a bigger call.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me ... for whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25: 35,40)