April 2020
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

AHA Launches ‘Virtual Food Drive’ to Continue Outreach Efforts

Demarest, NJ: Serving others is a challenge while social distancing and self-quarantine against COVID-19 are in effect, so the Academy of the Holy Angels initiated a virtual food drive. If distance learning could succeed, why not a virtual service project?

The week of March 16, when AHA moved all classes online, the Academy had planned a food collection for people in need. AHA Director of Advancement & Alumnae Relations Dorrie Voulgaris quickly realized the Academy would have to find a new way to accomplish its outreach goals.

“I knew that the food pantries are always in need this time of year, but now more than ever. The pantries cannot have food donations dropped off, and have scaled back their volunteers. The best way to support their efforts was to give them the money they need to keep the operation going,” Voulgaris said.

Dean of Students Andréa Beyer and Voulgaris conferred with Director of Campus Ministry Kathleen Sylvester. They decided to work with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, extending an AHA connection that has been in effect for approximately three decades.

“We are so grateful to Academy of the Holy Angels for their help and generous donation in these trying times,” said Carlos Rodriguez, president & CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “On behalf of the entire Community FoodBank of New Jersey team, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Academy of the Holy Angels, all the corporate partners, and so many others who have helped fund our work throughout this outbreak. We would not be able to do what we do, and feed so many food insecure people throughout the state, without your help.”

The Academy’s original goal was $1,000, but AHA more than doubled that amount in just one day, Voulgaris reported. She said the $2,782 raised during the first days of fundraising would help provide 8,346 meals. Voulgaris added that the AHA community may still donate via this dedicated link:

Commenting on AHA’s connection with the food bank, Sylvester explained that an AHA alumna had worked there for a number of years. In addition, Sylvester is acquainted with the organization’s former director of warehouse distribution. Currently, AHA junior Mary Flahive is part of the food bank’s student leadership team, Sylvester added.

Members of the AHA community donate Thanksgiving turkeys to CFBNJ, and AHA’s freshman class spends Service Day at the food bank. In addition, students from Holy Angels attend the annual Teen Hunger Summit sponsored by CFBNJ.

“This food drive is in keeping with our mission. We have to help those on the margins,” Sylvester added.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

Academy of the Holy Angels

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Demarest, NJ 07627

Phone: 201.768.7822

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