By Ian Christopher Beck ’12
The annual Brophy Turkey Drive is an effective and heartening way that the Brophy student body gives back every November.
The money goes to a good cause: It helps needy families and it improves the lives of those who have little. But it could use a bit of a change.
The current system of the Turkey Drive is essentially a competition, a fight between classes to raise the most money.
Who doesn’t want to hear their name on the announcements every sixth period being proclaimed as the leader or the winner?
It’s simply natural to want to win.
But the problem with this spirit of competition is that it overshadows the real reason why we participate in the Turkey Drive.
When you drop that dollar bill in the manila envelope, are you thinking about the family you helped feed today or are you thinking about whether or not you can catch the leading class?
It’s a natural reaction and it’s one that I’ve fallen victim to many times in the past. It unfortunately takes away from the true power and impact of this drive.
The motivation behind donation should be helping others, not winning a pizza party or a T-shirt. The desire to give the most money shouldn’t come from a competitive spirit but one of generosity.
This isn’t a slight against the Office of Faith and Justice. The bottom line is that we are raising money for a good cause and we are making a difference in the lives of many people.
But we as students must be more aware of the real reasons behind the Turkey Drive.
It should not be because we want to win T-shirts, and not because we want a pizza party or want our class called out on the announcements. Its should be because we want to help those less fortunate than us.
According to Assistant Principal for Ministry Ms. Kim Baldwin, the Office of Faith and Justice, along with teachers and administrators, has had conversations on the topic of charitable drives turning into competitions.
The conclusion of those conversations was that it does indeed matter why students are giving but at the same time, having the sense of competition encourages greater giving on the part of the student body.
As a result of this decision, the OFJ last year began changing the way the Turkey Drive worked. Rather than setting a class by class monetary goal, the OFJ began announcing how many families the Brophy students were feeding in an effort to humanize the drive.
Other changes included replacing the grand prize of a pizza or cheeseburger party with a Turkey Drive T-shirt.
Ms. Baldwin said it felt odd picking up enough In N’ Out burgers last year for an entire class when the goal of the drive was to eliminate hunger. Therefore the grand prize this year was a T-shirt that advertises the Turkey Drive.
I am in sixth period World Religions with Dc. Joseph Stickney this semester and every day we have a classmate stand up and give a story about an experience they’ve had volunteering for any of the organizations the Turkey Drive gives to.
The stories are about young children and families who students came in contact with, the love and the very real human emotions that these classmates got to experience while volunteering.
The activity has had a profound effect on me because it puts a human face on the Turkey Drive, it inspires me to give a bit more money and to dig a little deeper in my pockets for extra change.
Putting a human face on the Turkey Drive encourages me and others to give more than we normally would. It reminds us that the reason for giving isn’t about winning but about helping other human beings who need our assistance.
We, as Brophy students, are regularly exposed to the social, economic and stereotypical injustices in the world around us.
And based on that experience that we all have, we should all be a little bit more aware of why we are giving and who we are giving to.
Moving forward, it’s important for students to remember the reasons for giving in the Turkey Drive and all other charitable drives Brophy organizes. Students need to remember the human beings at the other end of their contributions, the people who have their lives impact by our giving.
Related News: Turkey Drive continues to raise money for community
OFJ seeks to change process of how to distribute Turkey Drive profits
In the past, profits from the Turkey and Lenten Drive have bled together, according to Ms. Baldwin, and are then distributed to organizations Brophy has a history with.
Organizations like St. Vincent de Paul, St. Joseph the Worker and Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos have been past recipients along with many others where Brophy students have served and where Brophy has had further contact.
Turkey Drive money is given to organizations with an emphasis on hunger relief while profits from the Lenten Drive and others are given as a more broad donation.
According to Ms. Baldwin, the OFJ also receives several letters from organizations requesting donations and these letters are placed into a file for future consideration.
Looking ahead, Ms. Baldwin said the OFJ is seeking to instate a simplified form of a grant application that would allow organizations to ask Brophy for donations, explain who they are and what they do and where the donations would go.