With all six participating schools’ contributions counted, the final totals – and the competition results – from the third annual Great Ignatian Challenge are in! The undisputed winners, of course, were the local food banks and charities whose shelves were filled with more than 53 tons of provisions. Over the past three years, the schools have collected and distributed nearly 150 tons of food, enough to feed 74,000 people.
When the Great Ignatian Challenge was announced, a donor – now revealed to be Jim Rowen, Chief Operating Officer of Renaissance Technologies – pledged up to $250,000 for tuition assistance to be divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student. The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in the City of New York contributed $20,000 to this year’s challenge, bringing the total distribution to the six schools up to $270,000. Mr. Rowen, who is the former Board Chair at Fordham Prep, said he was inspired by the existing Thanksgiving food drives at each school.
The money will be divided as follows:
- Loyola: $111,250
- Regis: $46,500
- Fordham Prep: $42,100
- Fairfield Prep: $27,000
- Saint Peter’s Prep: $25,900
- Xavier: $17,250
Mr. Rowen said, “When we are united by our Ignatian mission to help those less fortunate, that collaboration can achieve remarkable outcomes. Addressing hunger for thousands is just one example.”
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, gave his congratulations saying, “The grand challenge given by St. Ignatius Loyola – to be, like Christ, a man for others – was radiantly taken up by the ‘Great Ignatian Challenge’ among our six Jesuit high schools in this region as they collected food for the hungry! Saint Ignatius, the Jesuits, and this well-fed Cardinal are very proud of you.”
Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport (CT) added, “Throughout the Gospels, Jesus defines power as an act of service. He makes clear to his apostles that He came into the world note to be served but to serve. Jesus was always moved to action when he encountered anyone who was sick, suffering or in need…I am proud of all the students participating in this challenge. May God bless you in this worthwhile act of service that brings you together in the name of Christ to feed the hungry.”
The over 16,800 pounds of food collected by Loyola School and the over 17,300 pounds collected by Regis High School were donated to New York Common Pantry. Concourse House, Mercy Center, Our Lady of Assumption Helping Hands Food Pantry, and Part of the Solution (P.O.T.S.)benefitted from nearly 28,000 pounds of food from Fordham Prep. Operation Hope of Fairfield (CT), Action for Bridgeport Community Development Inc. (ABCD) of Bridgeport (CT), and Blessed Sacrament Parish of Bridgeport (CT) were the recipients of over 15,000 pounds of food from Fairfield Prep. Thanks to the students at Saint Peter’s Prep, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and St. Patrick & Assumption/All Saints Parish, both in Jersey City, were filled with over 16,500 pounds of food. Xavier High School provided the Xavier Mission of the Church of St. Francis Xavier with nearly 12,500 pounds of food for the holidays and beyond.
The portion of Prep’s contributions collected through YouGiveGoods has already been distributed to St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and St. Patrick & Assumption/All Saints Parish, but students and parents are invited to help package our in-person donations for distribution during a Parent/Son Day of Service on Saturday, December 15.