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St. Joe’s collects nearly 30,000 items for rural food pantry

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A long-time tradition at a private high school in Kenmore provides donations to those in need in Olean. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says close to 30,000 items were collected by students at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. 

"So this is Food Basket season.  This is the 47th year,” said Suzanne Badgley, director of marketing and communications at St. Joe's.

We stood looking at a large area of boxes filled with all kinds of non-perishable foods. Students collected nearly 30,000 items.

"Students arrive each morning for the past month - since Thanksgiving -- they have a whole process -- where there's runners that are unloading cars. There's quite a system of boxers and tapers and organizers," Badgley explained.

Students go door-to-door collecting to collect the food. The items were loaded up on trucks this week to deliver to the Warming House in Olean. It is a food pantry operated by St. Bonaventure University serving the rural population. 

"And I think there's a lot of discussion among the faculty and boys here. These are people, a lot of migrant farmers, a lot of people that provide us with food all year round and winter can be a really challenging time for them, so it supports people in our region that do so much for us the rest of the year," Badgley said.  "And it’s really a pride in our St. Joe’s community.  We have alumni who still come back and donate."    

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
St. Joe's students collected nearly 30,000 food items for the Warming House in Olean.

For more than four decades the Food Basket collection remains an impactful campaign. Last year the donations from St. Joe's students provided 80-percent of the stock at the Warming House.

"This builds such community for us," declared Badgley.

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