Students from Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, collected food items, hygiene necessities, winter coats and more for local food pantries and shelters during November. Courtesy photo
Students from Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, collected food items, hygiene necessities, winter coats and more for local food pantries and shelters during November. Courtesy photo

Each year, the students of Christian Brothers Academy spearhead the Thanksgiving Food Drive. Given the hardships many are facing amid the pandemic, the students knew this year’s efforts would be needed more than ever.

So, in the four weeks prior to the holiday, the young men collected more than 32,000 food and hygiene items, winter coats and more for seven different food pantries and shelters in the Lincroft area.

“Throughout a fall with constant challenges and uncertainty, our students’ commitment to serving those in need has never wavered,” Principal Ross Fales said. “I am extremely proud of our academy men for their efforts in not only donating a record number of food drive items this Thanksgiving season, but also the consistency with which they have been selflessly giving since the start of the school year.”

The food took on a different look this year, with the CBA community being conscious of the current health protocols during COVID-19. However, campus minister Matt Butler encouraged the student body to do what they could, albeit in a safe and cautious manner.

For example, when CBA was in its virtual learning period, Butler drew up a “drop-off day” so students could leave items on campus while practicing social distancing. Nearly 70 students showed up to help sort and load approximately 6,000 items that were donated just that afternoon.

With the help of parent Jon D’Orsi, a 1989 graduate, the varsity crew team was able to contribute more than 13,000 items. Students also came together to pack about 1,000 ready-made lunches that were sent to pantries and shelters for their lunchtime rushes. In addition, more than 150 winter coats were collected.

Butler and Christian Service seniors also collected items for women’s shelters, with donations of hygiene products, baby diapers and toys being sent to shelters in the greater Monmouth County area.

“From ready-made lunches to winter clothing, Mr. Butler and our students have supported those in our local community who have been severely affected by the pandemic’s economic challenges,” Fales said. “These initiatives are something we all can be profoundly grateful for this year and truly make the academy a special community to be a part of.”