Fall has arrived, and as Thanksgiving approaches it’s time once again for the Great Ignatian Challenge, a friendly food drive competition among nine Jesuit schools. The challenge, now in its fifth year, seeks to raise students’ awareness of hunger and inspire them to take action by working to fill their local food banks, pantries, and community centers with tens of thousands of pounds of much-needed provisions.

Last year, the schools participating in The Great Ignatian Challenge collected and distributed over 137,632 pounds of food. Over the past four years, The Great Ignatian Challenge has collected and distributed 218 tons of food!

Fordham Prep alum, Jim Rowen, will once again personally pledge $250,000 to support the schools’ efforts. The nine schools will compete for tiered awards based on criteria identified by Mr. Rowen, including the most amount of food collected per student.  While in prior years the monies have been allocated to supporting financial assistance programs, this year Mr. Rowen has asked that the awards be applied towards offsetting Covid-19 related expenses incurred by each of the schools. Inspired by the commitment to social justice and service to the community that lies at the heart of Jesuit education, Mr. Rowen has generously donated more than $1,100,000 towards the Great Ignatian Challenge competitions over the last five years. His desire is to open this competition up to even more schools next year.  

Prep will face increased competition in this year’s challenge, as the two Jesuit schools of Upstate New York—McQuaid Jesuit High School (Rochester) and Canisius High School (Buffalo)—have joined the fray. Fairfield Prep (Fairfield, CT), Fordham Prep (the Bronx), Loyola School, Regis High School, Xavier High School (all in Manhattan) and Saint Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) have all returned to compete as well.

All nine competing schools are sponsored by the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Challenge derives its name and inspiration from the words of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits: “Love consists of sharing what one has and what one is with those one loves. Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words.”   

More information on Prep’s participation in the Great Ignatian Challenge is coming soon!

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