The Food Drive: A Winter Homecoming

For the Christian Action Team, homecoming is this Saturday. Every year at the annual Christmas Food Drive, dozens of alumni return to campus to participate in one of the great traditions at Saint Ignatius: delivery day.

Former Food Drive Core Team members and Alumni Volunteers, plus other alumni, will show up at 6 a.m. on December 17 to help with the remarkable assembly line of setting up the chapel parking lot for delivery of more than 700 food baskets to needy Cleveland families. Over mugs of hot coffee that emit puffs of steam into the freezing air, these Ignatius Men Forever share laughs and smiles as they limber up for one of the most eagerly awaited days of the year.

Just a couple hours later, St. Mary of the Assumption Chapel will fill with even more alumni, families, students, friends, and the proud voices of the Saint Ignatius chorus will lift the hearts of each person present. Indeed, when bread is broken and shared during the Eucharist, it’s the Ignatius family that is seated at the table.

The Mass begins at 8:30 a.m. this Saturday and is followed by a hearty breakfast served this year by the Loyola Society Mothers’ Club, whose support of all things Ignatius is beyond measure. Ties of new days from the old are strengthened as former classmates bump into one another, making plans to reconnect during this Christmas season.

Of course, the purpose for which the community has gathered is the delivery of the baskets. Following the meal, a parade of vehicles winds through the chapel lot, each one receiving the goods to be delivered to homes throughout the greater Cleveland area. Alumni bring their fiancées or kids or friends, dressed in hats and gloves, as current Wildcats load up their trunks with a box, a basket and a map to the destination.

Then, for the next several hours, members of the Saint Ignatius community sprawl throughout the city, delivering a simple meal and some Christmas cheer to complete strangers. A few school vans will drop food off at apartments for Labre friends, once homeless but now indoors. Indeed, Jim Skerl’s favorite rule rings ever true this day: “A smile, your name and a handshake go a long way.”

We hope you, your friends and family will join us this year for the 80th Rini Family Christmas Food Drive. It’s a homecoming quite unlike any other.


Coming down for the food drive? Use the hashtag #CFD2016 on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram post!