NEWARK, Del. (Jan. 21, 2011) - Every coach knows that when they get 20 student-athletes around food, there is little to be leftover. But these 20 student-athletes from the University of Delaware baseball team were not devouring the food for them, but instead helped sort, box and distribute fruit and meals at the Food Bank of Delaware on Tuesday night.
The Blue Hens separated a thousand pounds of clementines and boxed over 300 meals for senior citizens across the state of Delaware, taking time out of their preseason practice routine prior to the start of the season in a couple weeks.
Michael O'Keefe, Aaron Masco, Corey Crispell, Nick Young, Matt Harden, Kenny Fetchko, Ian Hoff, Nick Stampone, Eric Young, Danny Gatto, Jeff Murray, Andrew Burgess, Steve Richter, Brandon Hinkle, Eric Buckland, Matt Soren and team manager Sam Spuhler joined captains Pat Dameron and Steve Ulaky to help fight hunger in the community.
"This was another win-win for everyone," assistant coach Mike Ranson said as he also got down and dirty in helping the Food Bank. "The members of our program who participated got to spend time together off the field doing something to benefit members of not only our community of Newark, but statewide across Delaware."
The Food Bank of Delaware, a member of Feeding America, formerly America's Second Harvest, is a statewide nonprofit agency whose mission is a community free of hunger. The Food Bank's beginnings can be found at Westminster Presbyterian Church where Retha Fisher, Director of Community Services, formed a Food Closet Study Committee in 1977 to help improve the church's hunger-relief efforts. Four years later the Food Conservers, Inc., was established and the name was later changed to the Food Bank of Delaware.
"The guys enjoyed their time at the Food Bank, and had a great experience sorting through clementines that had been shipped up over the weekend from Florida," continued Ranson. "Had we not sifted through the 1,000 pounds of fruit, they would have gone to waste."
Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Food Bank of Delaware. Last year, they hosted more than 15,000 volunteers who donated more than 45,000 hours. This is the equivalent of almost 22 full-time staff members.
The Blue Hens will try and match their success off the field with the success on the field, starting with a trip to UNC Greensboro on February 18 for their season opener. Their first home game is March 2 against St. Joseph's at 2:30 p.m. at Bob Hannah Stadium.