For the past six years, Pinecrest Academy has hosted the annual “Elves for Shelves” food drive, a service initiative that began years prior but gained momentum in 2017 when the lower, middle and high schools began competing to see who could stock the most shelves! Each year, the campaign begins just after Thanksgiving and runs through mid-December. The St. Joseph’s Food Pantry at St. Brendan Catholic Church has been the beneficiary of this annual school campaign for several years now.
This year, close to 11,000 food items were collected by families, faculty, and staff. Students were encouraged to be actively engaged, with some going door-to-door in their neighborhoods, where they encountered many who wanted to help.
“We started doing the Elves for Shelves Food Drive several years ago to meet a need at St. Brendan’s St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, but it has turned into a fun tradition that our students and parents look forward to each year,” said Emily Roman, Director of Campus Ministry at Pinecrest Academy. “Campus Ministry collaborates with the Deans in each building to make this event a fun contest that serves others. PreK3-8th grade Dean of Students, Jay Lynch, makes animated announcements that include singing each morning of the food drive, giving updates on which class is winning the contest so far.”
Besides the friendly collection competition between schools and classes, at the end of the drive, middle school students make sculptures with their donated goods before sending them to the food pantry. One class created a stadium this year!
“Our Campus Ministry Coordinator, Karen Gann, organizes high school volunteers to deliver the collected goods periodically throughout the contest because they don’t fit inside the buildings! A total of 11 truckloads of goods had been delivered to St. Brendan by the close of the campaign,” continued Roman.
“Food donations we receive from Pinecrest’s drive will help provide free food assistance for families in need until next Summer,” commented Barbara Gordon, Director of the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry. “The number of families is increasing weekly. We are fortunate and grateful for the support at Pinecrest Academy.”
Pinecrest Academy’s mission is to form Christian leaders who will transform society, and giving students the opportunity to put Christian service into action is an important part of the school’s overall educational philosophy.
“All in all, this has become a tradition for our school community, which teaches our students that serving others can be a lot of fun! The team at St. Brendan has told us repeatedly that this drive supplies their food pantry with goods that last for most of the year! What a blessing to be a part of this great effort,” said Roman.
Pinecrest Academy is an independent PreK3 through 12, college preparatory Catholic school, located in Forsyth County, a suburb of Atlanta, just minutes from Alpharetta, Milton, Johns Creek, Duluth, and Suwanee. Their mission is to form Christian leaders who will transform society. For more information about Pinecrest, to schedule a tour, or to attend their open house on January 29th, 2023, contact the admissions office.