#20canchallenge supports communities with Homecoming incentive

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Jack Guardiola

Students traded charitable donations for tickets to the Homecoming dance—and an opportunity for gratitude.

From October 2 to 13, Malvern students exchanged 20 cans for a ticket to the Homecoming dance. The #20canchallenge canned food drive before Homecoming gathered almost 3,000 cans—nearly 9,000 servings.

The idea for the #20canchallenge originally came from Director of Student Life Dr. James Fry when after the new Christian Service coordinators were announced. Fry said he contacted the Christian Service coordinators to let them know he would love to be part of the food drive.

“[I had this idea] for the challenge where in lieu of paying to go to the Homecoming dance in money, you could use 20 cans,” Fry explained.

Science teacher and Student Council moderator Mrs. Laurie Peslak said that Fry wanted to make the Food Drive more interactive with the students. Malvern’s Student Council plays a big role in food drives and dress down days.

“I know that one of the biggest things was that [Fry] wanted to make it more tangible for people to understand why we are doing these dress down days and food drives,” Peslak said. “We try to promote [the food drives], encourage people, collect the cans, help donate the cans, and be a vehicle to help with the collection process.”

Fry said there was a fantastic response from the students, who gathered almost 9,000 servings of canned foods in exchange for Homecoming tickets.

“I think there was a great response [from students.] To date, we’re just shy of 3,000 cans, which came in at about four and a half hours, which is exciting. I’m very proud of the students,” Fry said.

Since there were almost 3,000 cans brought in by students in exchange for a Homecoming ticket, this means nearly 150 Homecoming tickets were given away.

“There were about 140 students who took advantage of the #20canchallenge between October 2 and 11,” Fry said.

Sophomore Rowan Cabahug-Almonte participated in the challenge.

“I found some 98 cent cans, so I saved a whole ten dollars and 40 cents. Helping people is also a pro,” Cabahug-Almonte said.

With roughly 140 tickets traded for cans, and each ticket priced at $30, the #20canchallenge saved students a staggering $4,200.

Usually the Homecoming dance is funded by ticket sales. Fry explained that the couples who purchased tickets still covered most of the dance funding.

“Historically speaking, there’s usually around 350 couples that attend the dance. So we kind of back out 140 couples. There’s still 210 couples. That’s probably close to what our expenses are,” Fry explained.

A free Homecoming ticket was not the only incentive for bringing in cans.

“Everyone who brings in 20 cans will have the opportunity to write a thank-you note to someone who has helped them get to where they are, or they can dedicate those cans in memory or in honor of somebody that has been a big influence on the them,” Fry said.

Sophomore John Giordano said he brought in 20 cans for the challenge, but he didn’t take the free ticket.

“It’s for a great cause. Knowing that I helped someone feels great,” Giordano said.

The cans will end up at St. Patrick’s Church in Malvern. The church has a partnership with Saint Patrick’s in Norristown, as well as Mother Katharine Drexel in Chester.

“Ideally, we’ll make sure that both have a nice donation to help support and feed people in their communities,” Fry said.

The cans will be presented as an altar during chapel, according to Fry. That altar is currently under construction in the Duffy Center gallery. Each student will carry cans out to a truck, which will transport the goods to the parishes.

“The idea is having a little more of an educational experience with it, so it’s not so much of a passive ‘I’m just going to drop off the cans and not think about it anymore,’” Fry said.

Assistant Head of School for Student Leadership Mr. Ron Algeo expanded on what this means for Malvern students and striving to be more like Christ.

“We have an opportunity, on a much smaller scale, to sacrifice whatever it may be, whether it be meals at home or money, to help others in need. So in a small way, we’re emulating what Christ did for us,” Algeo said.

Although students can no longer trade cans for a ticket to Homecoming, Fry wants to make it clear that the #20canchallenge isn’t yet over.

“An important thing to know is that the #20canchallenge isn’t stopping,” he said. “We’re going to carry it through the duration of the food drive, which ends on November 11.”