This week, I had the opportunity to have a brief conversation with Coach Koch over the school food drive. Before we conversed, he provided me with some general information from the food drive this year: “Final count was 12,819 pounds donated to Catholic Charities of Dallas (2819 pounds from student can foods and a 10,000-pound donation from coaches). It will be matched by the North Texas Food Bank for a total of 25,638 pounds for CCD.”
Moreover, below are the guiding questions I asked him during our talk and his answers to those give prompts:
What does this whole process mean to you?
- “We as a Jesuit community, in a very small way, can help others in the Dallas community who are in such great need. Catholic Charities has provided a very simple way of being able to help those in need and those who go hungry on a daily basis.” It means a whole lot to me.
Tell me a little bit about the relationship between Jesuit and CCD.
- “Catholic Charities is an organization here in Dallas which anyone can get involved in, and certainly, Jesuit has been involved with them for a long time. Many at the Jesuit are very involved with the charities’ work with the overall mission of helping the Dallas community at large. I’d like to say this food drive is just one more outreach we all have at Jesuit.”
How did you become so heavily passionate or involved in the topic of health, nutrition, and the hunger issues in Dallas?
- “I became involved just through my growing cultural awareness and through the influence of Catholic Charities. I understand that there is such a great need for food in the Dallas area. It is hard in North Dallas to think that there are that many people who don’t know where their next meal will come from… I know we as a community do a lot of work around the world, in other countries, but to me, we have to take care of both our front and backyards and of course our neighbors…If there are local neighbors in need, why wouldn’t we also take care of them.”
Do you have any particular moment in your life when you faced or dealt with hunger firsthand?
- “A Jesuit board member on one of our Jesuit Retreats, Mike Terry, had lunch with me one day – this was years ago – he was telling me how the people at the intersections who are asking for donations, a lot of them just want people to recognize that they’re there as much as they need a handout.
- A lot of people look down on those who are out asking for donations. So, when talking with Mike he made me realize that these are people in “our community,” so we should do our little part to help each other out.
- Since then, if I don’t have a donation at an intersection, I at least roll down my window and hope they are having a good day, and I try to at least make contact with them, recognizing them as fellow human beings who are in need – I feel for them, so I usually carry around food in my car and certainly some spare change, anything helps them get through their day.
- With that all being said, we have so much power here at Jesuit – for example through our student body we can help many people.
- Giving canned food is just one way that we can help, especially when North Texas food Bank matches our donations – we are doubling everything and this year the coaches really stepped up. Moreover, some students who were not able to get canned food made some monetary donations to buy canned food to add to the school donation.”
- Final Statement:
- “I want to thank everyone for all the contributions, and I know it was a hectic time with the ice storm and the hybrid learning – the drive seemed to get pushed back a week – there was a lot of uncertainty.
- I know we could have done so much better… We have done so much better in past years, but for what everyone’s going through, I sure am thankful for everything.
- We are still probably getting in more donations than any other school in the dioceses, so Catholic Charities is very thankful for Jesuit’s help. So, hopefully, when we return back to normal, we can really really make a difference by helping Catholic Charities. In the end, if we all come together and work, then we can make a huge impact.”
At the end of our conversation, we talked about COVID-19 and its effect on our community. Overall, Coach underscored his thankfulness for everyone’s effort. He also understands everyone has a variety of things going on in their personal lives, so it was very special to get help during these times. Finally, like Coach said, hopefully when things return to normal, we will continue to make big positive impacts in our community.
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