Around mid-July, I contacted Bill Hackett about a food drive event to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the 1988 National Championship team. During the discussion, Bill Hackett mentioned he was having the same idea. I mentioned to him that I had heard of the Bread of Life Food Drive in the past through a common friend Lisa Kelly (Class of 93), author of “The Men We Became” book series. I also told him that I wanted to help in setting up a food drive to celebrate the 1988 team. To make this a successful drive, it was going to need a story and so I signed up for that assignment as well. I also contacted Rich Ryan ND Alum (Class of 75), about the food drive idea as well. Rich had connections to the Notre Dame Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive. The connections were Joe Delaney and former ND Football player Randy Kinder. The information I received from them was just amazing. Let’s take a look at how today Coach Holtz and his “Lads” are impacting lives today through this amazing campaign.
History of Bread Of Life Drive (BOLD)
The Bread of Life Drive had its origins in 1992, when Rev. Edward Malloy, then president of the university asked each alumni club to give a “gift” to its community, in the name of Notre Dame, to mark the university’s 150th anniversary. It is also unique because it is held in the spring. Members of the club led by Joe Delaney, Pat McLaughlin and Dr. Robert Griswold, decided to collect food for the needy, and they called their effort the “Bread of Life Drive.” That year, seven schools participated and three local organizations were the beneficiaries.
At the National Championship Bowl Game in January 2013, ND vs. Alabama, in South Beach, Former Notre Dame Head Football Coach challenged his “Lou’s Lads” to have their Foundation become involved with a Community Service Program, that would “give-back” to people in need. Coach Holtz thanked his players for their generous donations to the Lou’s Lads Foundation Scholarship Fund, but challenged them to also undertake a Community Service Project. Randy Kinder, ND Running back from 1993-1996, and Member of the LLF Board of Directors accepted Coach Holtz’s challenge and suggested to Holtz and the LLF Board that they join forces with the annual Notre Dame Bread of Life Food Drive, conducted since 1992, by The Notre Dame Alumni Club of Staten Island. Kinder invited Joe Delaney, Director of the ND Bread of Life Food Drive on Staten Island to make a proposal to the LLF at the Board’s September Meeting. The proposal was approved and in the Spring of 2014. The ND Bread of Life Food Drive went National, in 34 cities across America, with the help of Lou’s Lads.
In 2014, Lou’s Lads began their Partnership with the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island-Bread of Life Food Drive. In that first year, the ND Bread of Life /Lou’s Lads Food Drive was held in 13 States, 34 cities and collected 225,000 items of food that were donated to Food Bands and Agencies that serve people in need. Here is a look at the Growth of the ND Bread of Life Food Drive over the next 4 years:
2015 — 25 States, 6 Countries,104 Cities, 250,000 items of food collected
2016 –26 States, 156 Cities, 6 Countries, 300,000 items of food collected
2017– 27 States, 191 Cities, 6 Countries, 310,000 items of food collected
2018 — 27 States, 210 Cities, 7 Countries, 317,000 items of food collected
Total items of Food Collected in Five Years by the ND Bread of Life Lou’s Lads Food Drive– 1,402,000 !
Giving Back Personally
It’s A Responsibility For All
Growing up, I never needed to go to a food pantry for food. Though my mother was collecting a welfare payment from the State of Connecticut, my brothers and I never went without a meal. To this day, I am truly blessed to have been helped by the welfare system and I have personally given back in different ways to the community. The Notre Dame Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive, now beckons me to help someone else in need out. Actually it beckons all of us to help someone in need. That someone in need, may just be your neighbor.
Bill Hackett launched a style of Notre Dame Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive on his Facebook page “Notre Dame 1988 National Champions.” Bill’s post read: “Please collect non-perishable “can“ food items and donate them to your local food pantry or shelter. Please take photos or video of you and your family making the donation and post them on this page. This portion of the food drive will end September 1st prior to the Michigan Game.
Please make sure you have your ND shirt, pants, helmets etc. on when making your donations. Let’s show the ND community that we are strong and together on social media. All folks making donations will be noted.” All photos will be presented to Coach Holtz on September 1st at the 2018 LLF Reunion Brunch.”
The attached link will bring you to the page. http://www.facebook.com/Notre-Dame-1988-National-Champions-357575414390564/?ref=br_rs
You may also send your pictures of your donation on my Facebook page Shake Down The Thunder Sports as well.
The LLF Reunion Brunch is open to the public. More information may be viewed at http://www.louslads.org/llf-events. Those that are invited to attend or are planning on attending the event are also asked to bring non-perishable food to the event. There will be BOLD collection boxes the day of the event at the Monogram Club.
The Notre Dame Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive is a trait of the Notre Dame Value Stream, as coined by Lisa Kelly in “The Men We Became” books, that we all must partake in. Please help Bill and the Notre Dame Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive team help those in your community make sure they have food on their table every day.
I would like to personally thank Joseph P. Delaney Executive Director and Rich Ryan for their time and information they have shared with me to write this article.
Cheers and Go Irish!