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Gonzaga Christmas Drive Highlights Importance of Generosity in Trying Times

The holidays are fast approaching, and Campus Ministry spent the last six weeks organizing the annual Gonzaga Christmas Drive! The drive seeks to emulate the life and service of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ, who worked with the poor and afflicted in Italy during the late 16th century. Loyola hosted its first drive in 2010, and it has since become an important holiday tradition at the Academy.
Despite the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were a number of ways to participate this year. The generosity of our community helped Loyola raise over $11,000 to benefit deserving families at St. Thomas of Canterbury and Maternity Blessed Virgin Mary parishes in Chicago. During this time of crisis and need, these funds enabled us to provide 152 $75 Target gift cards for underprivileged students and families before Christmas. 

ZoomZaga 5K
This year, 170 members of the Loyola community ran (and walked) a virtual 5K, bringing in nearly $5,000 to kickoff the Gonzaga Christmas Drive in October. Many faculty and staff members used a designated professional development day on October 9 to participate in the fun, running or walking Loyola’s track at Sachs Stadium or setting out into the neighborhood around LA.  

“The 5K was a great way to build the Loyola community’s oneness and wellness,” says Campus Minister Alex Lupo, who helped organize the event with Physical Education Department Chair Susie McGovern. “Susie came up with the idea—she wanted to have an event where we could build community and be active together. The 5K was a success because we were able to raise money for families and engage with one another in our community.” 

"Loyola is a place where people come together and lift each other up," adds McGovern. "What better way to do this than to give and also participate in some self-care while enjoying good company."

The 5K was a wonderful start to the drive, but we aren’t done yet! Continue reading for more opportunities to give below. 

Gonzaga Christmas Coin Drive—October 26–30
All faculty, staff and students were invited to donate their loose change during the last week of October. Loyola faculty and staff members were stationed in the main lobby and Piazza entrance each morning from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. to help with the collection. Alternatively, families were also able to make a donation online or through a student’s PushCoin account. Thank you to everyone who helped collect $996.38 for the coin collection! 

Dumbach Pumpkin Auction—October 27–28
Sponsored by the Dumbach Scholars and created by Dumbach Scholars and Honors Art students, creatively decorated pumpkins were on display and available for auction on Tuesday, October 27,  and Wednesday, October 28, in the main lobby. Bidding was conducted via QR codes and closed at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28. The 2020 Dumbach Pumpkin Auction raised $430—thank you to all who placed bids! 

Turkey Bowl—November 8
Junior Student Council hosted a Turkey Bowl, a 7 vs. 7 flag football tournament, on Sunday, November 8, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Munz Campus. The tournament consisted of 32 student teams and raised $400 for the Gonzaga Christmas Drive—thank you students!

Ornament Auction—November 18–23
Through a collaboration between Campus Ministry and the Visual Arts Departments, fifty ornaments beautifully decorated by students, faculty and staff were auctioned off online. To everyone in our community who placed a bid and helped us raise $2,575—thank you! 

In addition, students enjoyed a number of fun ways to give back during the school day including candy grams, dress down days, and a library collection. One of the aims of drive is to demonstrate how even small acts of generosity add up to create a big impact. For students, the Gonzaga Drive is a valuable learning experience and an opportunity to put their faith into practice. 

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