Giving Back In the JBS Community: The Holiday Food Drive


Kiran Khan and Oviya Srihari

It’s that time of year again: students are stressed about finals; about thirty million assignments seem to be due, and everyone’s hoping that winter break will finally put them out of their misery. During this stressful time, it’s easy to forget about thinking of others. That’s what makes the long standing Burroughs holiday food drive so valuable.

Burroughs’s annual holiday food drive is an effort to raise food (in canned form) to donate to Isaiah 58 Ministries. The non-profit organization has been a staple Burroughs partner for over the last twenty five years.  The organization’s various outreach programs all aim to meet the needs of low-income families within the St. Louis community. The JBS partnership helps Isaiah 58 Ministries by holding a general canned food collection, a service day, the annual Straub’s Food Collection Drive and most notably: the advisory sculpture competition.

The annual sculpture competition is undoubtedly one of the main generators of can-revenue. During this competition, students bring in cans to their respective advisories to create a unique can-themed sculpture. Advisories are judged on the originality of their ideas, amount of cans contributed, and overall effort.

Some advisories combine forces to make an extravagant sculpture. Sculptures of smaller advisories with a smaller number of cans are judged on the creativity and intent of their design, rather than their size. Winners of the competition earn bragging rights and the satisfaction of carrying on a beloved Burroughs tradition. Losers are motivated to try harder the next year. Regardless, if you win or lose, the annual can competition is a highlight for many students. For Thornton Walker (’22), the advisory competition is a way to “Give back to my community and compete with my friends.”

While many students are frequent donors to the holiday food drive, there is still a portion of the Burroughs community less willing to contribute. Of this small percentage is Owen Sheehan (’22).

“I honestly have not donated to this thing in three years,” Sheehan said, “but it’s [the food drive]  for a really good cause!”

Whether the reason for not participating is either stress or forgetfulness, one should aim to not let it affect their ability to help out, because the cans collected during the holiday food drive has a big impact on the families that receive them.

Katie Gelfman (’22) reflected on the importance of the holiday food drive, too.

“It’s important to give back to others. Not only because it’s time for holiday spirit, but because it is a great way to strengthen our community and help others in need,” she said.

Despite the studying and the snow, Gelfman believes that everyone must remember to give back this holiday season. Each donation makes a difference.