Something special is happening in San Antonio, Texas. A local council of the Knights of Columbus have devised and implemented a charitable program that connects the practice of Lent, alms-giving, and a devotion to serving the community. 40 Cans for Lent was spearheaded by Our Lady Guadalupe Council 8306 in 2011 in San Antonio and has spread throughout Texas. The goal is to support the nutritional health of those in need. Participants accomplish this goal by donating one can per day throughout the 40 days of Lent. In just a few years, the campaign has generated a tremendous amount of food. The parish that was the origin of the campaign was able to make a huge difference in their local food banks.
The beauty of this drive is that is so easily replicable. The event has spread all throughout the United States and gets bigger every year. Inspired by Christ’s 40 days of fasting, 40 Cans for Lent is helping families in real, measurable ways. By encouraging parishioners to think of others during an already contemplative time, organizers can effectively communicate the messages intrinsic to Lent.
Specifically in San Antonio, the three charities that receive the donations are the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the San Antonio Food Bank. All of those organizations rave about the success of the drive. In some instances, the drive has doubled their output. That means twice as many families are receiving aid. By any measure, that is a good thing.