Villanova supports Mission with monthly food drives

 

By Joel Charron and Emily DiCarlo

 

The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission has received overwhelming support from the students of St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School.

Starting last November, students were asked to bring in two to five canned goods the last Friday of every money in exchange for a casual dress day.

The monthly can drive was kick started by horticulture teacher Andy Pailing and his daughter and Grade 12 student Ashley Pailing.

“Villanova always does a big food drive at Christmas but my dad and I thought doing a continual, once a month food drive would really accumulate a lot more food and interest from the students,” said Ashley.

The idea has received an overwhelming response from the students, who according to Pailing have become more generous with their donations as time goes on.

“I never thought it would catch on like this,” said Pailing. “I see almost every student bringing in bags full of canned goods.”

Since November the students have exceeded 16,000 canned and dry goods in total and hope to clear 25,000 at the end of the school year.

 

Villanova teacher Andy Pailing and his daughter Ashley are the driving force behind the monthly food drive being held at Villanova.

Villanova teacher Andy Pailing and his daughter Ashley are the driving force behind the monthly food drive being held at Villanova.

Along with the cans, students have also been asked to bring in fresh fruit and vegetables. This has led to a collection of over 1,000 pieces of fruit and over 100 veggies.

Ashley said they decided to donate to the Food and Fellowship Mission because they help families locally.

“I didn’t realize there were that many families in our area that needed the help financially to put food on their tables,” said Ashley. “I really like how the Mission is always trying to make peoples lives a little easier.”

Pailing added that there is always a different group of students that are willing to help organize the food drive each month.

“We get different groups of kids to help each time to spread awareness,” said Pailing. This has given leadership classes, sports teams, and many others the opportunity to assist the less fortunate in our community.

He also mentioned being able to work with his daughter on a project such as this is a “great bonus.”

“I have the pleasure to work with so many great kids but working with my own daughter and seeing her passion to help people is truly a great feeling,” he said.

Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister said he is “moved” by the generosity of the Villanova students and the donations go a long way.

On March 22, McAllister and board member John Drop collected 2,600 canned goods and over 500 pieces of fresh fruit from Villanova.

“The people never stop coming. The need is always there all the time,” said McAllister. “The more the donations come the happier we are to meet the need.”

Villanova plans to continue this program for the remainder of the year, and hopefully bring the program back for the 2013-2014 school year.

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