The red kettles have been tucked away for another year.
The Giving Trees have disappeared from the malls.
"I think it's important we do it year-round," said Mia Kritzer '22, La Salle's Officer of Service. "We are just trying to help people because we know they are struggling."
A yearlong commitment
La Salle has committed to providing food to Lot Whitcomb students every week school is in session throughout the 2021-22 academic year.
The need is great. According to a recent study from the School of Public Policy at Oregon State University, more Oregonians than ever don't have enough to eat. Approximately 1 million - or one in four - Oregonians experienced food insecurity in 2020, according to the study.
At Lot Whitcomb, just around the corner from La Salle's Milwaukie campus, nearly 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. At the start of the school year, La Salle was providing food for the families of 85 children; because the need has grown, the school now gives to 94 families.
"Our school community is so grateful to have this wonderful support so that our students get the food they need to thrive at home and in school," said Brianna Rosen-Fischer, who coordinates the distribution of donations at Lot Whitcomb.
'Not just once a year'
La Salle's groups and teams are taking turns bringing in food. Each constituency is assigned a week. For example, juniors bring in donations one week, seniors another. La Salle's staff and alumni groups also have pitched in.
Romila Tandingan Kim '92 - a La Salle graduate and the mother of Gavin Kim '25 - likes that the campaign is ongoing.
"It keeps it in the forefront that there are always people in need," she said, "not just once a year."
Students often personalize their donations by drawing notes and writing words of inspiration on the paper sacks stuffed with food and snacks. Many students also pray for the little ones and their families at home.
"During these trying times, those working hard to make ends meet are being hit the hardest," said Sarah Maher, La Salle's Director of Service. As Lasallians, she said, "It is our responsibility to build relationships, grow in empathy, and help where we can."