From spiking the points to stocking a local food pantry
This season, the volleyball team is serving more than aces and points — it’s serving the community by volunteering at Helping Hands, a local ministry outreach.
The Lady Cru has been serving once a week since August.
“Student athletes need to find time to give back to the community,” volleyball head coach Kecia Davis said.
It started as a recycling effort, and grew from there. Combining the volleyball and football teams, the Cru uses about 225 plastic bottles a day.
“We started off taking our Gatorade and water bottles down to Helping Hands because they re-label them and fill them with laundry detergent,” Davis said. “Every Monday, two of the players go down and wash our bottles and the football team’s.”
By the end of the semester, the teams are expected to donate more than 5,000 bottles to the ministry. But more than giving products, the volleyball team gets the chance to physically serve by sorting clothes, stocking shelves and bagging foods.
“We go wherever we’re needed,” Davis said. “It’s unbelievable how much we can get done in just an hour.”
The team is split into subgroups and visits the ministry at different times throughout the week.
Davis said both Helping Hands and the volleyball team are encouraged by the projects.
“It’s good to interact with people in the community and become more aware of what we have,” she said. “It’s been a bonding experience for us.”
Sophomore biology major and team captain Sara Hayward said volunteering allows players to take the focus off of themselves.
“Jesus has called us to take care of the homeless, the widows and the orphans, and this is a chance for us to do that,” Hayward said. “The community is a huge supporter of us and they come to our games,
so this is a way for us to repay them for what they’ve given to us.”
The team will continue to volunteer at the pantry through the semester, as well as into the spring.
Hayward believes it’s been a learning experience.
“For me personally, I’ve been blessed with a family who’s been able to give to me almost everything I’ve needed and wanted, so it’s a great opportunity to reach out and become aware of other circumstances,” Hayward said. “It’s a chance to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate.”
Freshman nursing major Kaydie Cochran believes volunteering at the pantry gives players a glimpse of life outside of their own.
“My heart goes out to those who are less fortunate than I am,” she said. “It’s really been good to open our eyes. We’re always together on and off the court, so when we walk into Helping Hands, it’s all about those who need our help, not us.”
Cochran has been on mission trips before and enjoys being a servant, but she said mission work isn’t just about traveling far distances.
“You can just step outside your back door to be able to serve,” she said. “Mission work is all about serving others, even when they’re close.”