THE ALMANAC —The St. Thomas More Navajo Y-Princess Tribe recently led an effort that united the St. Thomas More School, Church and Religious Education communities to collect 6,110 pounds of food and $1,044 in cash donations to support South Hills Interfaith Movement’s Sack Hunger, Pack Hope food drive campaign. The St. Thomas More drive, the first of its kind for the STM community, generated the largest Sack Hunger food donation thus far in this year’s campaign.
Fathers and daughters from kindergarten through fourth grade who are part of the STM Navajo Tribe helped lead the effort. They handed out collection bags and accepted donations after weekend Masses, and distributed hundreds of bags throughout local South Hills neighborhoods to collect food from their neighbors.
“Bringing together the entire St. Thomas More community, along with our families and neighbors, to help those in need right in our backyard was a very meaningful opportunity,” said Dave Barone, chief of the STM Navajo Tribe. “We are so blessed to have such a wonderfully generous community that cares so deeply about the well-being of others.”
Additionally, they got the school and religious education communities involved. Each grade from preschool to eighth grade was assigned specific items based on what SHIM needs most. From food to monetary donations to personal care items, the collection boxes overflowed in the school lobby within days.
“It is important to us that our students understand that their own personal love of Jesus means they have to respond to his command to love their neighbor as well,” said STM principal Setrak Haroutounian. “Lent was an especially relevant time for us to answer the Lord’s call to feed the hungry.”
SHIM’s food pantries served nearly 700 families and 1,800 people in the South Hills this past year. About half of what SHIM distributes comes from community donations. Last month, SHIM opened a third food pantry to serve even more South Hills residents in need.
On average, a family visiting a SHIM food pantry receives 60 lbs. of food per month. The STM donation will feed more than 100 families for an entire month.
“I am glad to see our parish, school and religious education groups unite to be the hands and feet of Christ to our neighbors,” said STM pastor Fr. James Farnan. “We hope this beautiful display of living faith will help those in need know they are not forgotten and very much cared for by our community.”
The donations will help to support the operations of SHIM’s three food pantries across the South Hills.