IWU athletes collect cans for Clare House

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Emily Considine

 

Illinois Wesleyan University student-athletes collected over 5,100 cans of food for the Clare House, a local food pantry and soup kitchen.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) puts on an annual Trick or Treat for Canned Goods event every year on Halloween.

SAAC is a committee made up of student-athletes assembled to provide insight on the student-athlete experience and to offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA campuses.

Each IWU athletic team is assigned a neighborhood in Bloomington or Normal and dresses up in Illinois Wesleyan gear rather than Halloween costumes and asks for canned goods rather than candy. Homeowners of Bloomington Normal have come to expect the IWU student-athletes on Halloween.

“Homeowners are ready with their cans to greet us and wish us a great season,” said senior volleyball player Maddie Greybar, a SAAC cabinet member.

This year is Clare House’s twentieth annual Holiday Food Drive, which IWU student athletes helped to kick off. The food drive has raised nine semi-truck loads of food in three weeks, and with the efforts of thousands of people, everyone who comes to them is fed.

“Clare House is a wonderful local organization in need of assistance,” said Kristy Duncan, SAAC co-advisor and IWU assistant volleyball coach. “SAAC has been donating canned goods gathered during the Halloween event to Clare House for the last nine years. Because of this, Clare House has come to rely on IWU for this donation.”

Last year the Titan athletes collected around 4,000 canned goods. This year SAAC was determined to collect more cans not only by raising the Trick or Treating outcome but also by having bins at home games for anyone to donate.

“We try to operate under the liberal arts philosophy of developing the whole person and not just a certain niche,” said associate athletic director Mike Wagner, SAAC co-advisor. “Community service is just part of the development of the student-athletes that gets them engaged in the community and, in return, members of the community will come support them in their events because of their involvement.”

In addition to trick or treating, SAAC encourages athletes to bring a canned food item for the Clare House to the annual Tommy Awards, which acknowledges athletes from Spring 2013, Fall 2013 and Winter 2013-14 seasons for their accomplishments.

“I have no doubt that the loving community of Bloomington/Normal and the surrounding area will again respond and we will raise the amount of food needed to keep our doors open,” said Clare House director Tina Sipula. “We thank everyone who contributes in anyway—be it with donating food, working with us at the doors of Schnucks or in the warehouse to sort food or those who go door-to-door collecting in neighborhoods.”