Students, Community Members Pitch in for Annual Food DriveDecember 17, 2013

About 115 families from within Kansas City’s St. Francis Xavier Parish will be guaranteed a complete holiday meal this year, in part because of the efforts of Rockhurst University students and community members.

University students pitched in with more than $1,800 in donated meal points, part of a drive headed by Sodexo food service, according to Mike Johnson, general manager for the Sodexo Campus Services at Rockhurst. He said Sodexo worked to let students know about the drive, but this year a student-led effort took the message to the residence halls, as well.

“The students at Rockhurst are happy to give,” he said. “In the past they have donated enough meal points to purchase the fresh apples, oranges and potatoes  for the St. Francis Xavier Church Christmas baskets.”

Donations of other canned food items were also taken at the annual Ceremony of Lessons and Carols on Dec. 7 at St. Francis Xavier Church in lieu of admission.

The meal-point drive directly benefited St. Francis Xavier Church’s annual Christmas food distribution effort, during which families in need within the parish’s borders receive a package with fresh apples, oranges, potatoes and a turkey, along with other holiday meal staples. The collection at the Ceremony of Lessons and Carols also helps in an indirect way, according to Colleen Simon, director of social ministries for St. Francis Xavier.

“We serve close to 115 families from around the parish boundaries during our Christmas basket distribution and those donations allow us to replenish our food pantry at the end of the holiday season,” Simon said.

Last year, Simon said the drive resulted in about 176 bags each of oranges and apples and 145 five-pound bags of potatoes for the baskets. Because the church then does not need to purchase that food on its own, she said the pantry can direct its resources elsewhere.

“It allows us to purchase at least one turkey for every family,” she said. “That ensures that every one of our families gets a full Christmas meal.”

The baskets were distributed to members of the community Dec. 12 both at St. Francis Xavier and by volunteers who took the food to homebound recipients.

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