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Turkey Drive 2014

2014 Delivery Night

Message from the 2014 Chairman:

Friends, classmates, esteemed colleagues, members of the jury, those in witness protection, and Gelpi;

I hope this letter finds everyone with good health, good fortune, and happiness. As you may have guessed, it’s that time of year again….the days shorten,  cool fronts march across Lake Pontchartrain, ritualistic Friday night football games under the lights of Tad Gormley are played, there is the anticipation of the upcoming holidays spent with family and friends and, of course…..Varisco threatening to burn classmates homes down if they pledge and veg. All of this can mean one thing and one thing only.

Time to kick off the 2014 Thanksgiving Drive!

It’s hard to believe that we are entering the 18th year for our drive and I do mean ‘OUR’ drive. Please do not misconstrue my use of the word ‘our’. I use it not to imply exclusivity or elitism, but quite the contrary.  I use ‘OUR’ to be completely inclusive.  This is OUR thing. This is the mark the class of ’83 has left on the student body and the JHS community as a whole since 1996 and, for better or for worse, (and I believe better) will be what our class is known for in perpetuity.

 Almost by accident, over a bunch of beers and a very late night Sally Struthers infomercial, a tradition was born… and here we are.  We find ourselves in the fall of 2014, in the midst of continuing what has now grown to be a part of our collective legacy; serving others, providing service examples to students, and having a lot of fun doing so.  We have defined our class as such and what originally was viewed as a curiosity has now become a palpable example of the ‘Men for Others’ mantra of Jesuit High School.

 An accident….maybe.  An unlikely class to do so….perhaps.  Serendipitous….definitely.

 So many years later it appears the student may have finally become the teacher. Ironic given the fact that while students we were regarded as renegades by most faculty and loathed by the rest, but no one could ignore the fact that by the time we were juniors we steamrolled the seniors and commandeered control of the school and, maybe…just maybe, this class was ‘special’ (define that as you will).

So as I digress and proudly reminisce on where we have come from as a class and where we are today, I will leave you with a few stats and a couple of thoughts. Since inception we have fed more than 25,600 people, purchased over 7,250 turkeys, and raised more than $126,000 in donations. Last year we purchased 452 turkeys which fed approximately 1,600 people and raised just over $19,000. Also, three years ago, we initiated the funding of a permanent endowment which, if fully funded, will continue to provide turkeys for the Thanksgiving Drive in perpetuity in the name of the Class of ’83. In just three short years, we have socked away more than $54,000 toward our goal of the fully endowed amount of $150,000. Pretty damn strong performance by anyone’s measure and all this made possible by each and every donation that YOU have made to OUR thing….our endeared Thanksgiving Drive. One other stat worth mentioning, since inception and every year thereafter, 100% of every dollar raised has gone directly to our cause of feeding those on Jesuit’s Thanksgiving Drive list. Other than the purchase of turkeys and with rare exception of providing other food items early on, we have not had $1 of ancillary expense that has hit our ledger. All non-food expenses have either been donated and paid directly by classmates or donated in-kind by classmates contributing time or expertise (e.g. rental truck for delivery night, tax prep  and filings for our 501(c)3, pizza and beer for call nights, etc., etc., etc.)

For this year, there is one other important stat that is near and dear to me and, I believe, a very important part of what we do and how we can ensure continued success of our mission. That is the stat of engagement….how many of us are actively engaged in our drive….either financially, in donating personal time and effort, or both! Staying engaged and inviting and encouraging others to engage has been and will continue to be the lynchpin of our success. Last year we had 92 guys contribute and approximately 13 or so who attended call nights, coordinated and organized logistics, and hosted call nights. Make no mistake, those are great numbers, but I challenge all of us to do better…to continue to expand our diversity and our reach…to engage more of our classmates. A great stretch goal would be to shoot for 140 classmates to participate this year….maybe attainable….maybe not, but let’s find out.

To that end, our first call night is today (10/9), 6p at Malcolm Schwarzenbach’s offices at Trumpet Advertising in NO and will likely occur weekly thereafter at various locations…maybe even a Northshore call night for our St. Tammany contingency. I encourage each of you to attend at least one call night if possible. They are a lot of fun and mostly clean.In order to get close to the goal of 140 participants we will need your help in reaching out to guys whom we have not been able to reach and also in re-engaging other guys who may have once supported but who have fallen off the map in recent years. There may be an easy way to get those of you inclined to assist this year in helping connect/re-connect with classmates so stay tuned to your email on how we might be able to make that happen.

Well, apologies for the unusually long letter, but I couldn’t be more proud of what we have accomplished and it is easy for me to drone on and brag a bit about what we have jointly achieved. Thank you for your past support and in advance for this year’s support. With everyone’s help, we will have another successful year and please stay tuned for other emails on call night dates/venues and alternative ways to help with the drive as well as staying tuned for progress reports and delivery night plans.

Oh yeah, one last thing, you can still easily donate via PayPal at the website site listed below:  This website using the Donate button to the upper right.

God bless and best regards to all,
David Martin

Message from the Treasurer:

If you are still stuck in the 20th century and would prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to Class of '83 Thanksgiving Drive, Inc., and mail it to me at the following address:

Class of '83 Thanksgiving Drive
c/o Rene Alvarez
306 Athania Parkway
Metairie, LA    70001

If you have any questions regarding donations, do not hesitate to email me at (this is a new email address).

Class of 83 Thanksgiving Drive -> Project 83

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