Canned Food Drive

Lizzy Nejman

Throughout the week of January 9th, a few half-filled boxes sat in the Link of Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, as hundreds of students walked past them each day. For the Spirit Week leading up to the Jesuit Cup, the Saint Ignatius Student Council organized a canned food drive. The idea was to have a friendly competition between Ignatius students and students of Loyola Academy, in order for each to help their community and prepare for the rivalry of the game, with the winning school set to be announced at halftime.

Unfortunately, the Saint Ignatius community did not exactly rise to this challenge. Throughout the week, the members of Student Council who announced the canned food drive sounded increasingly nervous, with Wednesday’s announcements reporting that the Wolfpack was setting up to be “crushed” by the Ramblers. While one could argue that Loyola has a larger population of students than Saint Ignatius, as Loyola has around 2000 students, and Saint Ignatius has approximately 1400 students, the Wolfpack still should not have failed at this task to the point of being “crushed.” 

An unverified source suggests that the Ramblers were given several incentives not offered to Saint Ignatius students, including a dress down day and extra credit if they brought in more cans than the Wolfpack. These alleged efforts may have ended up paying off for the Ramblers. “They ended up beating us by around 2200 cans,” said Ms. Hipple, the Student Council moderator. The final count of Ignatius food cans was 763, while Loyola’s count was almost 3000 cans. There are a couple of possible explanations for the limited donations in the Link. While Student Council made announcements in the homerooms, that is not always the best way to reach students. Many people are simply on their iPads and do not pay attention to the loudspeaker, resulting in an uninformed student body. On a similar note, this message was also mentioned at 10 in the morning each day, meaning it was not fresh on students’ minds when they returned home from school. On Thursday afternoon, senior Devin Lawler said, “I think it is a bit of an information epidemic at school where all of these big events aren’t talked about enough.” 

Another possible explanation for the diminished food donations may have been the excitement of the Jesuit Cup and Spirit Week leading to the canned food drive being put on a back-burner in people’s minds. With everyone so excited about dressing up, the pep rally, and two potential wins against Loyola, bringing in canned foods to beat them in a third (non-sporting event) competition may not have rung true to as many people as Student Council expected. 

Coinciding with the limited word-of-mouth advertising, the area in the Link to collect the canned goods was remarkably lackluster. By Thursday the 12th, there were only about four small boxes and no obvious signs. Though it may seem trivial, putting a table and big colorful signs would have drawn the attention of many more passing students. It could have also kept the idea fresh in their mind as they exit the school, making them ready to get in their car and tell their parents to head to the grocery store to pick up some food to donate. 

A final explanation may be that the Student Council believed that the promise of beating Loyola would be enough to ensure a Wolfpack win. Unfortunately, when that idea was unfounded, the necessity for better branding could have potentially increased the amount of cans brought in. However, the spirit of competition was still shining through on Thursday night as Lawler revealed her plans to attempt to help the dying food drive. “I am definitely going to bring in cans tomorrow because I don’t want to lose to Loyola.” 

As men and women for others, we have a duty to help those in need, and beating Loyola should not have been the only motivation.  “We could have done more, and the idea of a competition with Loyola was lost until the very end of the competition,” said Ms. Hipple. “But we shouldn’t need competition to want to do service.”