Jesuit Students Give Back to Community at Thanksgiving
By Jackson Cheramie ’21, Staff Writer
The sun barely peeking over the sign at the entrance, a blue wave, clad in masks and khaki, sweeps through Robert Fresh Market. Entering in designated shifts, the pridefully designated shoppers of each homeroom dash through the aisles, checking off lists, grabbing cans, bread, and perishables.
Fumbling cash at each register, teachers hope that their students were not overzealous in grabbing only what their donations can pay for. Soon, Mr. Prados rushes by, leading alumni as he and his philosophy club of 2020 graduates return to participate in such a beloved act of the Jesuit community.
No matter the changes in place this year, the spirit unique to that one Wednesday morning on Robert E. Lee still filled that market. Not even a pandemic could stop the impending wave, the force of charity, within the Jesuit community, and the leaders of the Jesuit community understand that. Though we both understand that this year has to be different, Mr. Kernion offers thanks not only to the Jesuit community but to Robert, praising “how great is it that Robert continues to do this for us, creating an excellent shopping experience despite all of the COVID challenges.”
Entering the courtyard, a scattered array or blue loads cars and pickup trucks, a few students come running by with a few forgotten groceries, and the class of ’83 hands out its famous turkeys. I find Father Brown among the organized chaos, rejoicing in his first Thanksgiving Drive as President. “I know that our Blue Jays are always competent, I know that they are always conscious of the needs of those out there,” he tells me, “but when it comes to compassion, that sense of feeling that when someone else has a need and it in turn becomes our need to fulfill it, it makes me so happy that even at a time like this we as Blue Jays are still able to feed our community.”
Cars filled with baskets, teachers leading the way, we begin the most fulfilling, human part of the day: Handing over the baskets, the product of our hard work, to the most needy of our community, is an unrivaled experience. It bonds us together as Blue Jays and as men, men for others, men who have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of a community and actually serve others at a time when so many things are simply shut down. Distributing baskets with my classmates to a family of ten headed by a grandmother who wanted nothing more than to give her grandchildren a wonderful Thanksgiving feast, I see a wonderful part of humanity that no pandemic could ever defeat.
As Mr. Kernion said to me, “people are in need more now than ever and this is something so important that it was absolutely imperative that we, a proud community of men for others, deliver these baskets.”