By Jack Terry ’21
When Dennis “Trey” Pryor ’20 asked Bro. Stephen Balletta, S.M. ’74 if he could coordinate a collection drive on behalf of Mary’s Meals, an organization combating child hunger, Bro. Steve was at first apprehensive. After all, Chaminade holds numerous drives every year – and he wondered if the student body would respond to a whole new one
Still, he decided to let Trey give it a shot.
“Because this drive was being proposed by a student – because this concern for the needy was exactly the kind of reaction that the school wants to elicit from our students – I really wanted to see this drive happen,” explained Bro. Steve.
However, neither Bro. Steve nor Trey anticipated the immense success of this project.
On October 17, the senior class gathered for “Hunger,” an evening of recollection. A key part of the event was the screening of a half-hour film titled Child 31, which details the crushing poverty experienced by children in third-world nations and the subsequent efforts made by Mary’s Meals to alleviate this hunger.
Trey was particularly impacted by the film. During the short reflection that followed, he meditated on his personal development at Chaminade.
“Senior year is a time to decide what type of person you want to be going forward,” he thought to himself.
“I took this whole experience as a sign to try to do something bigger than myself,” Trey explained.
The next day, Trey asked Bro. Steve if he could initiate the project, and the drive was underway. Trey chose fellow seniors Harry Divaris, Mark Klein, and Liam Maxson to assist him with the effort. In picking these classmates specifically, Trey sought collaborators that truly cared about the project – not students who were only interested in earning praise for their goodwill.
“In the back of my mind for a long time, I’ve had the desire to organize a fundraiser within Chaminade, whether for hurricane victims or something like this,” Mark explained. “So, when Trey approached me, I jumped at this opportunity to help.”
Trey worked with the Director of Campus Ministry, Mr. Michael Foley ’99, to promote the drive. Together, they created flyers to post around the school, filmed a commercial with ETV that aired during the morning announcements, and discussed the drive with their peers to get the word out about their efforts.
Starting on Ash Wednesday, February 26, the four seniors stood by collection bins in the cafeteria, encouraging their fellow students to donate spare coins and dollar bills. Each day at the end of the lunch period, the seniors brought the collection bins back to the school treasurer’s office where they were stored for safekeeping. By the end of the second day of the drive, the collection bins were so heavy that the seniors needed aluminum carts to transport them from the cafeteria to the treasurer.
That’s when Bro. Steve and the group of seniors knew something special was underway. Trey had initially estimated that they might raise $1,000. After tallying was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the count was finally completed at the end of April.
In just three days of collections, students had raised an astounding $4,691.96!
The incredible success of the drive was a testament to the Chaminade community’s unwavering commitment to aiding the less fortunate, a tenet of our Catholic faith.
“$4,691.96 says a lot about the Chaminade student body! It speaks to their generosity,” exclaimed Bro. Steve. “It tells me that Chaminade students will step up to the plate and embrace a project like this enthusiastically – provided you make a compelling case to them.”