Beards for bread: Contest raises money for St. Rose of Lima food pantry

— Yonko said Beards for Bread seemed like a more engaging fundraiser than a simple canned food drive

“I know in part, the idea was to do something unique,” he said. “We do the traditional charitable things throughout the year; we have a hat and glove drive and a canned food drive going on in the building. But the organizers wanted to make it different. Junior high kids are a different breed. They’re a fun group, and something like this, they respond to very well. Doing a canned food drive is nice, but doing something like this really makes school fun. More importantly, it shows them the human side of their teachers, really makes those connections.”

In addition, it helps both students and staff get through those last few weeks of the semester before Christmas break, which can seem slow and boring.

“We’re at the halfway point of the year, and sometimes things tend to drag,” Yonko said. “This is something that just livens things up to get everyone through to break.”

Moreover, it serves a desperate need in the community.

“There’s always a need in the community for a variety of things, whether it’s for a hat and glove drive or at the food pantries,” he said. “We see the ups and downs, and with this economy, there’s an even greater need. And there’s always an awareness of that among our students and staff that there are those less fortunate than them. Many times, our students are affected.”

The holidays, he said, are always a good time to undertake a fundraiser like this one, because everyone’s in the mood to give.

“Obviously, this isn’t the only time of year these things are done, but this is when the giving spirit is at its highest,” Yonko said. “The kids tend to be really thinking about those less fortunate than them, while the rest of the year, they may not be at the forefront of [the kids’] minds.”

All in all, Beards for Bread is a win-win for the school and the community.

“Everybody benefits,” Yonko said. “The Community Food Pantry at St. Rose of Lima Church benefits. Certainly our students and staff [got] a good laugh out of it.”

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