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St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute holding annual food drive to benefit the Warming House in Olean

BY: Tiffany Monde, Tonawanda Source | December 06, 2012

KENMORE - St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute is holding their 42 annual food drive until Wednesday Dec. 19. Martin Fedchak, business and social studies teacher at St. Joseph’s, said that the majority of the food comes straight from student donations.

“We don’t go out and get anything from Tops or anything like that it’s just whatever the kids donate on their own,” said Fedchak. “We have averaged around 32,000 donations a year, over the years.”

The food drive started right after Thanksgiving break and runs until Dec. 19. Fedchak said they load the truck that afternoon with the help of the entire student body and then leave the next morning to go down to Olean with about 25 students to help unload the truck.

The majority of the food donated goes down to The Warming House in Olean.

The Warming House is run through St. Bonaventure University and according to the University is possibly one of the oldest student-run soup kitchens in the nation.

The home started in 1974 and grew overtime to offer meals to the hungry, homeless and disadvantaged. It is open six days per week, year-round and has more than 300 student volunteers and around 100 community members that help out.

They also donate to three or four pantries around the area and also try to get out to any that contact them for help.

“I think it gives the students a great idea to know there are people out there that do need their help and they understand that,” said Fedchak. “The ones who are actually working the program get to go see another side of how people can live, that are struggling, and can help them out.”

Fedchak said they have between 40 and 50 students that directly help with the program, collecting the food, keeping stats and making the boxes.

He said it’s been a very successful program and they appreciate the help they have received from Uncle Bobs Storage and Jamestown Container who donate boxes. They also have organizations who donate trucks and buses to help transport the donations down to Olean.

If anyone wants to get involved they can just contact the school at 874-4024 or they can drop off the food anytime between 7a.m. and 8 a.m.

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