Blue Jays Care for Their Neighbors During Thanksgiving Drive

Posted November 27, 2019 / Last updated January 10, 2020

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Homeroom 803 delivers a Thanksgiving basket on S. Hennessey St.

Perhaps Jesuit senior Will Martin said it best when he said, “I love this drive because it brings us closer to those in need to do what God created us to do, to care for our neighbors.”

The Thanksgiving Drive is a hallmark event of the fall semester, calling the entire Jesuit community of students, faculty, parents, and alumni into action in service to others. This year’s drive provided a Thanksgiving meal to 538 families in the New Orleans community, more than 60 of which live in Jesuit’s own neighborhood.

View the Photo Gallery of the 2019 Thanksgiving Drive

Martin was the senior speaker chosen for the Thanksgiving Prayer service. He began by recounting his junior service trip to Panama, where he and his classmates spent “the best week of their lives” without phone and internet, building a basketball court with villagers. He also spoke of the impact made by daily volunteers at Grace at the Greenlight in Central City when he has volunteered with them to serve the city’s homeless. “They are my heroes,” Martin said. “One woman a volunteer told me, you should look at someone in need and see the face of Jesus Christ.”

Watch the Video of the Thanksgiving Address by Will Martin

That is exactly the attitude that Jesuit community members have had over the last month as they have collected canned goods, donated money for perishable foods, organized baskets, and spread out over the community on Wednesday to make deliveries.

Tim Powers joined Martin to speak at the prayer service. The good English teacher that he is, Powers quoted a poem by Theodosia Garrison which he reads to begin each school year.

Just children on their way to school again?
Nay, it is ours to watch a greater thing.
These are the World’s Rebuilders!

The Rebuilders, Theodosia Garrison

“That for me is the allure of teaching,” Powers said, “and especially teaching at Jesuit High School. Have no doubt about it, you are the world’s rebuilders, and each day you are given the opportunity to make the world a better place.”

Watch the Video of the Thanksgiving Address by Tim Powers

And it’s not just the students who are committed to this mission. Parents volunteer to drive on the morning of delivery. Alumni classes are excited to participate year after year.

“One of the most impressive pieces of the drive is the young alumni classes who are volunteering to take groups of families,” said service project director Kevin Murphy ’00. “And it grows each year. Classes take on three baskets one year, seven the next, then twelve. New classes are stepping up to do service. It shows that alumni remember the Thanksgiving Drive fondly and want to remain involved with their classmates doing service.”

In addition to the “Turkey Class,” the Class of 1983 who generously provides the turkeys for all of the families in the drive, alumni of all classes gathered on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning to provide meals for 200 families out of the 538. Individual alumni classes also sponsors groups of families in addition to the 200.

In all, it is truly a community event, one that forms bonds of connection in countless ways. Of all the things to be thankful for, Jesuit’s commitment to serving others is the gift most cherished by the community in this season of giving thanks.