In addition to excelling athletically and academically, William & Mary student-athletes also have established a remarkable tradition of being leaders in the community. That commitment to making a positive impact was evident during the recent Colonial Athletic Association Food Drive Challenge, as members of the Tribe combined to raise a league-best 936.5 pounds of food and $1,392.45 in donations during a week-long drive held March 17-23.
“Volunteerism and community engagement are integral to the student-athlete experience at W&M,” William & Mary Athletics Director Terry Driscoll said. “The CAA Food Drive Challenge is a win for all of our conference communities and we are honored to take the lead in this year’s campaign. We share our recognition and thanks with all the teams and SAAC leaders that worked throughout the year to address the needs of our CAA neighbors.”
W&M worked with FISH, INC., an all-volunteer, not-for-profit agency providing help to residents of the greater Williamsburg area, to organize the food drive at different sites on campus. The mutual effort generated impressive results that will benefit the greater W&M community moving forward.
“FISH is fortunate to have the students of the College of William and Mary as their partners in the fight against hunger,” said FISH President Gene Bruss. “Their efforts have provided thousands of pounds of food that FISH will give to families in need. FISH thanks the College of William and Mary and the CAA for their continuing support in the fight against hunger. Go Tribe!”
Deidre Connelly, the Tribe’s SAAC Advisor, added, “Our student-athletes have had a long-standing, positive connection with FISH, Inc. and the Grove Christian Outreach Center, our local food pantries. These volunteer agencies do a tremendous job of addressing food insecurity in the Williamsburg area. Our student-athletes know about their mission and feel honored to be able to support them at different times during the year with various food collections. We especially look forward to the annual CAA Food Drive Challenge, because regardless of the outcome of the competition, all the communities benefit from this intense effort to raise awareness and actual goods for those in need. We are thrilled to have claimed first place this year and thank the CAA for the opportunity to join with the other conference schools in this important annual effort.”
All 10 CAA institutions partnered with local food bank organizations and were given up to a seven-day period during the spring term to collect non-perishable foods and funds on campus and their surrounding community. Monetary donations were converted into pounds at a consistent rate for competition purposes.
The CAA Food Drive Challenge was developed during the CAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Leadership Summit in November 2013. Student-athletes wanted to adopt a new community service initiative to participate in as a conference. This community service initiative provides an opportunity for student-athletes to build unity across sports on campus, as well as directly addressing the need for donated food in their communities in an effort to stop hunger.
“Solving the problem of hunger in our local communities is a big and challenging initiative,” said CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager. “We appreciate the work put in by all of the SAAC members and the student-athletes on our CAA campuses. The food and money donations will have a tremendous impact in the community and help feed people in need.”
In total, 3,711 pounds of food were donated throughout the various conference campus communities. In addition, there were cash contributions of $4,282 provided to local food banks assisting with operating funds and other expenses.
The CAA will present a trophy to W&M and the FISH representatives at an upcoming event.