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St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute students make 41st annual food delivery to Warming House

Dec 20, 2022

Boys from St. Joe's unload boxes of food at the Warming HouseA tradition that’s passed the four-decade mark never gets old.

For the 41st consecutive year, students from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute on Tuesday delivered a truckload of non-perishable food items and paper products to the Warming House, St. Bonaventure University’s soup kitchen on North Union Street in Olean.

This year was the 52nd anniversary of the St. Joe’s Food Basket. The Warming House, which started receiving donations from St. Joe’s in 1982, is the primary beneficiary of the Buffalo high school’s annual food drive.

This annual Christmastime donation is the largest donation of non-perishables the Warming House receives each year.

“I’m always amazed at the generosity of their spirit,” said Alice Miller Nation, director of SBU’s Franciscan Center for Social Concern. “This annual donation is so vital to the sustainability of the Warming House.”

More than two dozen young men from St. Joe’s and some Warming House student volunteers from SBU took an hour Tuesday morning to unload boxes and bins containing more than 10,200 items. Afterward, they were treated to lunch in the Warming House.

Betsy Gingerich, wife of SBU President Jeff Gingerich, and Dr. Dave Hilmey, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and a 1997 St. Joe’s graduate, greeted the students on their arrival.

“I don’t think you realize when you’re having fun working on this project the impact you’re having in this entire community. It’s amazing,” Hilmey said. “What you’re doing feeds people all year long. It makes me proud to be a St. Joe’s alum.”

In 1970, St. Joe’s religion teacher Chuck Ende and a group of St. Joe’s students began collecting food donations for those in need. That first year, the collections fit in the trunk of Ende’s car.

The Warming House is the oldest student-run soup kitchen in the nation.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.