Organizers of the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island, facing a second spring of the Covid-19 pandemic, decided again that canceling the annual springtime Bread of Life (B.O.L.D.) Food Drive was not an option, especially with this year marking its 30th anniversary.
Partner organizations, schools and individuals helped this year’s B.O.L.D. raise more than $45,000 in online donations, 12,000 items of food online and 11,000 items of food by direct collections. (The schools include Catholic and public schools.)
“The food pantries we serve on Staten Island continue to be overwhelmed by requests from people who must use the services of our food banks for the very first time in their life,” Joe Delaney, executive director of B.O.L.D., told Catholic New York last week.
“We couldn’t just say (this year or last year) that we’re canceling the food drive; we can’t. Because there’s a pandemic and the food pantries that we serve are in more need of food now than ever.”
The Notre Dame Club asked their supporters to donate food online through “You Give Goods.” Cash donations were also requested on “Network for Good.”
The club also collected food “the old fashioned way,” by receiving donations of non-perishable foods from schools, as well as a “Drive-By Drop Off” food drive in the parking lot of Our Lady of Pity parish, which brought in 4,000 items of food.
The efforts were led by Notre Dame Club member Susan Venditto, who is a parishioner.
“People came to parish Masses and they dropped off the food in the parking lot and then went and attended Mass; so we called it a drive-by dropoff food drive,” Delaney said. “So during the pandemic we had to think of different, unique ways of collecting food.”
Our Lady of Pity also collected nearly $2,700 in cash donations.
Over the past 30 years, B.O.L.D. has collected 1.5 million items of food for 26 Staten Island recipient organizations that serve people in need across Staten Island. One of the largest recipient organizations is Catholic Charities of Staten Island (CCSI), which has served many families and individuals affected by increased food insecurity since the pandemic started.
“It really is a remarkable effort,” said Michelle LaVignera, director of social services for CCSI, of the collaboration that involves her office, the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island and all other groups and persons who make the teamwork truly special. “They even help pack the food and help distribute it with us.”
The Notre Dame Club of Staten Island is made up of alumni of the University of Notre Dame, and family of alums and friends.