Providence College’s soccer and volleyball athletes took part in the annual regional playoff food drive this past weekend at their respective National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) regional tournaments.
The food drive is a NCCAA Christian Service Project (CSP) and takes place annually at regional tournaments for each sport in the NCCAA body. During last year’s food drive, the NCCAA was able to gather 7,500 lbs of food through involvement with all of its respective regions and sports. This year they hope to surpass that as they have set a new goal of 8,000 lbs. Providence athletic teams took advantage of this opportunity to serve as they all brought bags full of non-perishable goods to their regional tournaments in support of the project.
The NCCAA director of community relations, Kelly Wood, is excited about the amount of support that the Providence Freemen, and all NCCAA athletes have given towards this CSP, and feels that it is a great way for Christian students to reach out to their communities.
“The NCCAA Christian Service Projects were created years ago as a way for NCCAA student-athletes, coaches, staff, and teams to give back to local communities nationwide,” said Wood, giving background to this year’s food drive. “We place a special emphasis on these projects during our national and regional championships as a reminder that serving the Lord through serving others is more important at the end of the day than winning a title. We want our student-athletes to learn that long after their college career is over, giving an hour or two of their time to others can make eternal impacts on lives wherever we find ourselves in life.”
Kelly Wood went on to say, “Thousands of hours are donated across the country annually by NCCAA members through various means and at numerous locations. CSPs include, but are not limited to: reading in local schools, free sport clinics, preparing food at local food projects, working in food banks, Salvation Army, Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs, YMCAs, nursing homes, children’s hospitals, homeless shelters, yard work, painting buildings, orphanages, washing windows, Habitat for Humanity, crisis relief (such as flood and hurricanes relief), food drives, prayer walks, leading chapel services, and more. We have had the privilege of seeing numerous people, including some on our member teams, come to know Christ as a result of these efforts, which is the ultimate goal of our CSPs.”
Freemen volleyball players Jill Reimer and Victoria Ryshytylo present their donations
“When the economy took such a hard downturn,” added Wood, “the NCCAA looked for a way to make a difference for so many non-profit organizations who have been struggling as a result. We also wanted to find a way to help people in communities nationwide. Combining the two, and with the NCCAA membership being so far spread and so diverse, we chose to start a national food drive last year. Our goal was to donate two tons of food to pantries all across the United States. We were pleasantly surprised when our schools came together and far exceeded our expectations. In the end, just under four tons of food were collected and distributed. We have received notes from some of the pantries to the effect that just when they thought they were going to have to turn people away because the shelves were bare, the NCCAA food donation showed up unexpectedly and they were able to assist needy families again.”
“Some (regional) hosts have gotten very creative and asked for donations at the gate. Some have even asked their entire student body and faculty to donate items too. Teams have gotten creative by going to local grocery stores to collect from customers as they left the store and also challenged grocery stores to match purchases with an equal donation of food. It has been a real blessing to watch our membership come together and help countless families who we may never meet,” said Wood
Further information on this NCCAA Christian Service Project, as well as other CSPs can be found at the NCCAA website by following these links:
By Kaiten Critchlow