Blue Jays Deliver Hope through Annual Thanksgiving Drive

Posted November 22, 2023 / Last updated December 5, 2023

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In the pursuit of God’s greater glory, Jesuit forms Blue Jays to become men for others. This mission is visibly alive in Jesuit’s annual Thanksgiving Drive, a nearly 100-year-old tradition of service that impacted hundreds families in the New Orleans area this year.

Blue Jays spread throughout Robért Fresh Market on Allen Toussaint Boulevard Wednesday, November 22 starting at 5 a.m to purchase perishable food items. In the preceding weeks, alumni, faculty, staff, homerooms, clubs, honor societies, and other student organizations collected non-perishable items that were combined together in baskets with turkeys donated by the Class of 1983.


The year’s drive fed 560 families throughout the greater New Orleans metropolitan area. Three-hundred and eleven of those baskets where put together by Jesuit alumni.

After shopping at Robért’s and arriving back on campus to assemble food into deliverable boxes, students and faculty met in the Chapel of the North American Martyrs for prayer and adoration. The service was led by Fr. Jon Polce, S.J., Jesuit’s chaplain, and music was provided by Jesuit’s choir under the leadership of scholastic Jeff Miraflor, S.J.


As part of the prayer service senior Charles Lemann recounted the significance of his service experience as a camp counselor for Krewe de Camp, where he worked alongside a camper named Tre’Jhan. Krewe de Camp, a non-profit organization, offers a traditional summer camp experience to children with developmental disabilities at no cost. 

Speaking warmly of his service, Lemann said, “This service project was my favorite week of the summer, and I am so grateful that I was able to attend and help out in any way I could. Spending time with Tre’Jhan was an incredible moment in my life and one that I hope to remember. I learned so many great lessons during my time at Krewe De Camp, and I hope to be able to volunteer at Krewe De Camp for years to come.”

He related this to the Thanksgiving Drive, stating, “Today, we are doing a different kind of service, but no less meaningful. The Thanksgiving Drive is a great opportunity to serve the people in our community. The Thanksgiving Drive is the best day at Jesuit because it embodies what being a man for others is all about.” 

Jeff Miraflor, S.J., also addressed the school community, recounting his past involvement in two Courts for Kids service projects and reflecting on the essence of service. He connected this to the students’ experience with the Thanksgiving Drive, asserting, “It’s not about the baskets. The baskets create the opportunity for an encounter with the people who have requested help with Thanksgiving.”

Miraflor concluded by stating, “Even if you haven’t met the families you’re serving because your role was to shop, pack, or donate goods and funds, consider the families you served when you sit down and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.”


Service Project Coordinator Scott Delatte ’06 then concluded the service by thanking the student body for their involvement and hard work. He also went on to thank the many Alumni participants of the drive including all the individual classes who are all visiting a large numbers of families on top of the 200 that Mike Prados ’83 and the general alumni base are feeding. Members of these as well as other alumni groups also helped package boxes and manage logistics on Carrollton & Banks throughout the morning.

The drive also had great participation from numerous co-curricular and other school groups including the Blue Jay Band, Cheerleaders, Jayettes, Sodality, Pro-Life Club, National Honor Society, Mentoring Group, Robotics Team, Philelectic Society, swim team, student council, administrative team, and advancement team.

We’ve visited these families for about eight years. It’s always a blessing, and when we wish them a happy Thanksgiving, we get a “love y’all.” The feeling is mutual; we do love our families and that’s the whole point. We don’t do the Thanksgiving Drive for any other reason other than to love our neighbors and friends in need for the greater glory of God.

Nathan Alvarez, Class of 2018

After baskets were assembled on campus, homerooms, alumni, and other groups distributed them to nearly 560 homes in the New Orleans area.