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St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute students make 42nd annual food delivery to Warming House

Dec 20, 2023

Students and staff from St. Joe’s unload food items at the Warming HouseFor the 42nd consecutive year, students from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute on Wednesday delivered a truckload of nonperishable 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 53rd 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 nonperishables the Warming House receives each year.

More than two dozen young men from St. Joe’s and some Warming House student volunteers from SBU took an hour Wednesday morning to unload boxes and bins containing almost 9,300 items. Afterward, they were treated to lunch in the Warming House.

Dr. Jeff Gingerich, St. Bonaventure’s president; Dean Whitcomb, director of Undergraduate Admissions; and Dr. Dave Hilmey, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and a 1997 St. Joe’s graduate, greeted the students on their arrival.

“What you guys have done is what makes me proud to be a St. Joe’s alum,” Hilmey said. “You make the lives of so many people in Olean better.”

Students from St. Joe’s unload food itemsIn 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. St. Joe’s history teacher Mike Stewart has been the faculty director of the student-run program for the last four years.

“As (St. Joe’s religion teacher) Deacon Hynes often says in his homily, ‘Boys wait for Christmas, men bring Christmas,’” Stewart said.

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

“We really appreciate all that you do,” Mike Waseda, assistant director of SBU’s Franciscan Center for Social Concern, told the students. “We would not be able to run the Warming House without your support.”


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. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).