St. Patrick's High School students take part in the 36th annual Irish Miracle Food Drive kick-off. 3 December 2019. (BlackburnNews.com photo by Colin Gowdy)

St. Pat’s students ready for another miracle

Students from St. Patrick’s High School hope to canvass the entire city of Sarnia this Saturday morning to collect food for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The school held a pep rally from their gymnasium Tuesday morning in advance of the 36th annual Irish Miracle Food Drive.

Grade 12 student and Food Drive Committee Co-Chair BB Adewusi said they’re hoping to get 500 volunteers out this weekend to collect around 9,000 bags of food.

“The Irish Miracle Food Drive is a very vital part of Sarnia, and a lot of people take it for granted how much food we actually collect and how much goes to St. Vincent de Paul. I’m a part of it because, other than the fact that it does help the school community, it is a lot of fun to grab a group of friends and canvas the streets.”

Grade 11 student and fellow Committee Co-Chair Taylor Willemsvandyk said she’s been involved with the campaign for all three of her years at St. Patrick’s.

“It’s fun to see who can get the most cans and it’s sort of like a little challenge. Everyone brings their food back, you count everything you have, and it’s a good feeling when you’re all done,” said Willemsvandyk. “We prefer if people would put their donations outside, because then it’s quicker for us if we’re not waiting for them to go into their kitchen and get it, so it’s very helpful if it’s all ready to go.”

Science Teacher Vanessa Borody said it takes an army to make the campaign happen each year.

“Now because it’s been going on for so long, people know to leave their bags out on the front and they expect us and anticipate us, so as much as it’s a part of our culture and it’s what makes us a Catholic school, it really brings in everyone in the community because they look forward to it and they look forward to the knock on the door or people collecting the food that they put out.”

Borody said the food drive is a Sarnia tradition that spans generations.

“I actually have a student in my class whose mom was one of the original students who started it, so we’ve really come down in generations now. For some of us it’s kind of the beginning of the Christmas season, some of us bring our small children and they’ve been doing it since they were babies.”

Borody said all those interested in volunteering, young and old and everybody in between, is asked to show up at St. Pat’s at 8:30 a.m. December 7.

The annual campaign will help St. Vincent de Paul fill around 2,000 hampers this holiday season.

School Chaplin Ann Clarke, a former St. Pat’s student, said this campaign helps a lot of people in need.

“I think sometimes it goes under the radar that the needs are so great, especially at times like this when families are under pressure for lots of expenses, and sadly, food sometimes is something that people cannot afford.”

Residents are asked to place their donations outside their door December 7 between 9 a.m. and noon. For more information, click here.

Last year, around 500 students, staff and community volunteers collected over 8,000 bags of non-perishable food items for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.