Nov. 23, 2011
For the eighth straight year, State’s varsity teams will each be ‘adopting’ a family for Thanksgiving. The squads will collect money and shop for groceries for a needy family’s holiday dinner. This year, the Wolfpack will sponsor 18 area families.
The teams’ representatives on the Student-Athlete Advistory Council (SAAC) are in charge of collecting the money from their teammates. Some squads give up some or all of their per diems, while others simply donate from their pockets. Each team is assigned a family from a list provided by the Wake County Human Services Holiday Cheer program.
Tonya Washington, Assistant AD for Student-Athlete Development/Community Relations, provides the students with an outline of appropriate groceries to buy when they go shopping. “I ask them to think of the things they loved at their own family Thanksgiving meals and try to supply those things for the families. When they think of it in terms of their own families, I think it really helps them connect.”
The favorite part of the process for the Wolfpack student-athletes is delivering the food to their assigned family. “This is a great way for us (student-athletes) that have been blessed to give back a little something to families that are struggling right now,” said women’s basketball player Marissa Kastanek.
“It has become a really fun team function to go out and buy all this food and make sure each of our families get a great meal on Thanksgiving.”
“I think that when they deliver the groceries, they realize that many of these families would go without a Thanksgiving meal if they weren’t providing it,” Washington continued. “The student-athletes see that there are families in their local community who are not as fortunate as they are and I think that gives them a new appreciation for all of the opportunites that they have. There are children in many of the households that view them as role models and for our teams to spend some time with them is a meaningful experience for both the kids and the teams.”