When did Robin Hood Days begin?
Robin Hood Days was established in 1974 as a week of giving to the poor. The week officially began with a prayer service in which several speakers from local agencies addressed the Mount St. Mary Academy student body about the importance of giving and how the students could become involved.
The students responded with a can drive held during the weeks prior to Thanksgiving. The Robin Hood Days can drive is estimated to have raised more than 500,000 cans and cash equivalent over its years in existence. Teaching decades of Mount St. Mary students about the needs of others, Robin Hood Days has also spread awareness of hunger in Arkansas through events like a trade your lunch for soup day (The Mount, 1991), a 2009 visit from the Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness (The Mercian, 2010), or a Belle TV student broadcast interviewing local food agencies (2011).
CAN you move those cans?
A 1978 edition of “The Mount” newspaper reported an average of six cans raised per person during Robin Hood Days. The school’s goal has grown to hover around 30,000 cans or cash equivalent raised each year, with the current year’s per person can average closer to 65-80.
Occasionally there is a surprise delivery on the can collection’s last day. A few of the most memorable have included transportation in all of the following: a boat, a flat-bed trailer, and a POD storage unit!
What is the record can total?
Class competitions and free dress days have been two of the favorite ways to keep classes on track to reach their goals throughout the years to help those in need. The extra motivation has inspired MSM students to solicit donations from grocery stores, neighbors, friends and families to give more than ever.
Many a Mount St. Mary yearbook boast improvements to can totals over past years with “Seniors win again” or “the best year ever!” Here are just a few proud announcements from editions of The Mount student newspaper or The Mercian yearbook:
1988 – 8,000 cans
1993 – 12,003 cans
1994 – 28,667 cans
1997 – 52,778 cans
2003 – 37,000+ cans
Favorite Robin Hood Days fundraisers
In addition to the cans hauled in to the school each year, a number of fundraisers have been held to boost the proceeds Mount St. Mary gives to local food agencies.
1970s: Newspaper drive, Snow cone sale, Student-sponsored faculty bike-a-thon and volleyball matches, Variety show
1980s-1990s: “Beans for Jeans” Tag Day, Father-Daughter Dance, Mother-Daughter Off-campus Lunch, Teacher Turkey Award, OXFAM trade your lunch for soup
2000s: We CAN Wednesdays Spirit Day, Movie Viewings, Cocoa and Donut Sales, Pizza on the Plaza
Making a Difference
Every year the money and canned goods collected through Robin Hood Days are sent to organizations that help the hungry and homeless in Arkansas. The longest recipient, The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, thanks MSM students each year for providing meals for the families they serve that will last them through the holiday season.
Some of the organizations that have benefited from the Robin Hood Days food drive are the Arkansas Foodbank, Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, Rice Depot, Union Rescue Mission, OXFAM and Catholic Social Services.