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Athletes Share Christmas Joy Through Toy Drive

Belmont student athletes have collected hundreds of toys for a nonprofit organization’s Christmas drive and will give 25 children new clothes and toys.

“We do a number of volunteer and outreach projects throughout the year, but the toy drive is the committee’s tradition,” said softball catcher and third baseman Hannah Irwin. “We try to stay involved in the community as a group. The toy drive is a great way to reach out to families, and it is a fun way to do it as well.”

Each of the 14 teams represented by the Student Athletes Advisory Committee adopted one or two children through Youth Encouragement Services (YES), a nonprofit organization that offers educational and recreational programs for inner city youth. YES gave the athletes Angel Cards to determine the clothing sizes of the children. They also purchased toys and school supplies to give the needy children a Christmas. Students eagerly gave money for their teammates to go shopping to give Christmas presents to the children, Irwin said.

The committee also extended their service project to the entire Belmont community by asking faculty, staff and students to donate new, unwrapped toys for the YES Christmas Store. The Christmas store allows needy families to “go shopping” in the nonprofit’s gymnasium and pick out a complete outfit and new toys for each child in the home, as well as groceries and a ham or turkey, all free of charge.

“Thank you to the campus, faculty, staff and administration for participating. It gives [university employees] an opportunity to connect with some of our athletes. This is a community affair and a family affair because giving is what Christmas is all about,” said Belmont’s Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator Betty Wiseman, who collected the toys in her office.

The Student Athletes Advisory Committee delivered the gifts to YES on Dec. 2.

Volunteers are still needed to organize toys, clothing and food and work the YES Christmas Store on Dec. 17 on Lindsley Avenue. For more information, call (615) 315-5333 or email info@youthencouragement.org.

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