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The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

MC completes another annual Thanksgiving food drive

James McCormac ’25
MC students help prepare the donated food drive items for delivery to the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry.

The season of giving is well underway and MC is celebrating it through charitable actions like its annual food drive. 

The Mount Carmel food drive is an event that takes place every year where students are each expected to bring in at least five non perishable food items. The food is then transported by a group of students to the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, which has been around for forty years and currently serves more than 1,500 individuals and families, a 300 percent increase since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This year the food was delivered by students on November 30.

Since Mr. John Stimler, a theology teacher who works in Campus Ministry and runs the MC food drive, has worked at  MC, students and parents have been giving food every year in an attempt to help out the community. The food drive is part of MC’s Advent Action Program which coincides with the season of Advent and is focused on giving back to the community in ways such as the food drive, the mission collections going to specific charities selected by each Studium, and a collection to purchase gift cards for needy families. 

The gift card program used to collect one toy per student but that has been phased out ever since the 2020 pandemic. “We’ve realized that gift cards are really the way to go,” said Mr. Stimler. “That way families can go out and buy their kids what they actually asked for.”

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The MC food drive is held during the holiday season not by coincidence but because of the impact these holidays have on those with and without. “It’s traditionally a time of generosity where people are thankful for the many things we have in our life,” said Mr. Stimler. “Because we have been greatly blessed, we should give back to those who are in need.” 

The expectation was for 3,000 cans to be collected, but MC fell short of that goal. Due to this Mr. Stimler is thinking of implementing some changes such as having a more competition based system between the Studiums. A few  years ago only three items were expected from each student. 

Maple Morgan Park does a big food giveaway before Thanksgiving every year for those who need food for the holiday dinner. This depletes their stock of food, and MC helps to replenish this so they can be ready for the Christmas season. “This time of year has a lot of pressure on families who are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Mr. Stimler. “People are ending up in food pantries a lot this time of year so they can make ends meet.”

The students who deliver the food every year are chosen from the Studium who contributed the most cans to the drive. “I think it’s good to give back to the community,” said Antonio Flores, a junior from Mr. Dominic Scheuring’s Studium who delivered the food. “There are people out there struggling, and it’s our duty to do what we can for them.” 

There was disappointment, however, in not meeting the collection goal. “Even though my Studium won, we didn’t even meet our goal,” said Mr. Scheuring. “Maple Morgan Food Pantry was happy to accept anything we offer them, but these places depend on donations, and when they’re told they’re going to receive 3,000 cans, that’s what they’re expecting.”

The food drive is a critical part of the values that MC installs in students about giving back to the community. “It’s our mission as men towards the world,” said Mr. Scheuring. “If we are supposed to imitate Christ, then we must use our hands to feed the world. Christ’s hands are ours.” 

Coming together as a Studium, which was reintroduced this year in place of Division, is also a part of the food drive. Trying to get the most cans and having upperclassmen show underclassmen what to do is a big part of it as well. “It’s a great way to  build an identity as a Studium,” said Mr. Scheuring. “It may not seem like much, but three or four cans goes a long way. You add ’em up and you get 120 a Studium.” 

Mr. Daniel Haggerty told his Studium’s upperclassmen that they should try and openly show underclassmen how they are donating items. Doing this would hopefully motivate the younger students and set an example. 

Giving a few cans per person is something MC encourages everyone to do. This small act of generosity plays a big part in combating hunger in Chicago. “A lot of us adults and students take our meals for granted,” said Mr Scheuring. “It’s a very little ask to give some non-perishable food items once per year.”

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About the Contributor
James McCormac '25
James McCormac '25, Staff Writer
James McCormac is a junior at Mount Carmel. He lives in Bridgeport and attended Old Saint Mary's Grammar School. James is a member of the Varsity football team, the chess team, boxing, and The Merchant. Outside of school James enjoys doing volunteer work. His hobbies are reading and lifting.