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Giving Back During Thanksgiving

Editor’s Note: In the weeks since Hurricane Florence pounded North Carolina, there have been ongoing efforts to assist those devastated by the storm. Gibbons, working with community partners, has been and will remain part of that communal gesture of hope by giving back to those in need, particularly during Thanksgiving. Here’s how Gibbons has helped and continues to help.

Before the start of school on a recent Friday, students and educators were loading cans of food and baby products donated by the Gibbons community on to a truck. By mid-morning a record 11,129 pounds of goods had been collected and delivered to Catholic Parish Outreach (CPO), a program of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, to help the non-profit restock its shelves for Thanksgiving.

Since Hurricane Florence, CPO’s food supply had been stretched due to the vast number of requests for assistance. Responding to that need, students and educators donated eight cans of food, instead of the typical five requested for the fall Dress Down Day for Hunger, sponsored by the Gibbons chapter of Franciscan Youth International (FYI).  

For Colton McAllister ’19 the “most wonderful” aspect of the event was the sense of community that was so evident.  “I loved being able to bring everyone together under this great event and share their compassion with those who need it the most,” he noted.

Inspiring is how Molly Pennisi ’20 described the way the Gibbons community came together during the event. With Thanksgiving approaching she said collecting food for the disadvantaged, including Hurricane Florence survivors, “made me realize how much I take for granted, and that I am thankful for everything I have.”

Agreeing with that sentiment is Mollie Jordan ’21. “The event reminded me of God's call to serve others …and to give to our brothers and sisters in Christ,” she said. “By bringing in just eight cans each, we collected food that many, many families can enjoy during the holidays.”   

The Dress Down Day for Hunger food drive adds to the many ways Gibbons has assisted those still recovering from Hurricane Florence. Below are some examples.

Thanks to a family with ties to Gibbons and St. Michael’s in Cary, $30,000 was raised in one week to support recovery efforts. For every dollar donated, the family offered to match the donation up to $15,000.

At the Diocesan Educator’s Conference, hosted by Gibbons, $4,000 more was collected, as were backpacks, which were filled with school supplies and distributed to students attending Catholic schools in flood ravaged areas.

Members of the Gibbons varsity football team took nonperishable food plus water and Gatorade to the Wallace-Rose Hill High School community in Wilmington; they returned the following month with additional supplies for those in need.

Members of the Gibbons Men’s Soccer program collected supplies and delivered them to Swansboro, NC, to assist families in their hurricane recovery efforts. 

Fall 2018 Dress Day Day for Hunger

Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ’82 said Gibbons stands ready “to continue our assistance in the recovery” in the months ahead. He added that the recent Dress Down Day for Hunger was about more than giving food to those in need – it was, he said, “about giving hope to those served by Catholic Charities, especially those still recovering from Hurricane Florence, and especially during this season of Thanksgiving.”


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