Get ready Sarnia. A Cyclone is about to hit!
Hundreds of students from St. Patrick’s high school will diverge on neighbourhoods across the community on Saturday, requesting donations for the Inn of the Good Shepherd.
Last year’s Cyclone Aid collected 32,000 pounds of food, enough to meet the Inn’s needs for nearly a month.
“This year, we’d like to collect 40,000 pounds to take care of a full month, said Joseph Palko, chaplaincy leader at St. Pat’s.
“As a Catholic school, we feel a responsibility based on our faith to care for the needy in our midst,” he said. “This is about not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.”
Cyclone Aid has been a school tradition at Easter for 14 years. When Sarnia’s two Catholic high schools merged last year, it was decided to continue both the Cyclone Aid food drive and the Irish Miracle food drive at Christmas.
“These are the two major rallying events for our school,” explained Palko.
There’s a lot of build-up before the actual day with a pep rally, press conference at the school and invitations to local elementary school students to help.
It’s expected about 350 students and another 150 adults will be out Saturday between 9 a.m. and noon, knocking on doors wearing “Irish Worker” badges.
“It takes the whole school to get it done,” said Palko. “We also have a group of teachers who oversee the logistics. They’ve got it down to a science,” he said.
All non-perishable food is welcome. However, the Inn has made a special request for lunch snacks, which aren’t donated as often.
Homeowners can donate in person during Cyclone Aid, but if you’re going to be away you can leave donations on the front doorstep clearly marked for the drive.
The entire community is invited to visit the school and help organize the food once it arrives, said Palko.
“It’s a huge job and it’s really something to see when we’ve finished sorting it all and packing it up in the hallways for the Inn to pick up.”
Elementary school volunteers are asked to arrive at the school by 8:30 a.m. to get assigned to a team.
AT A GLANCE:
WHAT: St. Patrick’s Cyclone Aid food drive
WHEN: Saturday, March 28; 9 a.m. – noon
HOW: Donate non-perishable food items to canvassers
WHERE: Sarnia, Bright’s Grove and Point Edward