Catholic Charities and Students Unite to Fight Hunger

(From left) Deacon Scott Conway, superintendent of schools, with kindergarten through eighth-grade students from St. Joseph Catholic School in Jacksonville, and Rebecca Aleman, director of Catholic Charities Jacksonville Camp I Am Special, and Robin Fecitt, St. Joseph Principal. (photo by St. Augustine Catholic/Savanna Kearney)

More than 30 Catholic schools in the Diocese of St. Augustine hosted food drives last week as part of the National Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5). On Monday, Feb. 7, volunteers from Catholic Charities in Jacksonville drove to schools around northeast Florida and collected nearly 20,000 pounds of food to give to those in need.

“This year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week was Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service. While we excel in all three, this week, we worked on our service and giving back to those who are less fortunate,” explained Deacon Scott Conway, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese. “We’re so excited about this effort that came from our students to help those who are in need.”

Over the past two years, many people have felt the effects of the pandemic, from financial hardship to employment challenges, all of which have led to food insecurity. Before COVID-19, Catholic Charities served about 100 families per week. In the past year, that number has increased to 140.

“Catholic Charities is so excited for this endeavor because the children are members of our community, and they did the hard work for this food drive,” said Rebecca Aleman, director of Camp I Am Special, who picked up 300 jars of jelly from St. Joseph Catholic School in Jacksonville on Monday. Each school was assigned a food item to collect to fill the pantry at Catholic Charities.

To learn more about the various programs supported by Catholic Charities Jacksonville, visit ccbjax.org.