Jan 27, 2013, 10:25 AM EDT
The Hofstra women’s basketball team had a week off of competition this week to prepare for a tough road game against James Madison today, Sunday, Jan. 27th. During the team’s week off of travel and games, the team took time to help in the community and give back to those who support them.
The veteran players and freshmen worked close together, cognizant of where they needed to be to ensure a responsibility wasn’t missed. The coaches issued instructions and led by example, resulting in a successful afternoon.
But the Hofstra Women’s Basketball program wasn’t conducting a practice drill or a pregame warm-up routine. Instead, 12 players and the entire coaching staff were volunteering at the Interfaith Nutrition Network (The INN) on Tuesday, where the team helped serve a meal it sponsored that served more than 340 people.
“We feel it’s very important to give back to the community and we were just grateful for the opportunity to help make a positive impact,” Hofstra Head Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said.
The day marked the third time Hofstra has sponsored a meal since Kilburn-Steveskey has led the program. All 13 players on the team donated their own money to raise a collective $1,001 to sponsor the meal at the Hempstead-based Mary Brennan INN.
The players and coaches worked in the kitchen and as servers for the guests as well as participating in the cleanup at the meal’s conclusion. Freshman Dee Thomas-Palmer was one of the players who served food and said the reaction from the guests made an impact on her.
“Everyone was so appreciative, and it made us feel like we had a great connection to the community,” Thomas-Palmer said. “They were asking when our next game was and how we’ve been doing for the season. It was a very special day.”
Thomas-Palmer and her teammates also helped sorting clothes that were delivered to The INN on a daily basis. That task took on greater importance with the temperature dropping below freezing.
Fellow freshman Sydni Epps joined teammates Shante Evans, Candace Bond, Andreana Thomas, Deven Green,Anma Onyeuku, Ruth Sherrill, McKenzie Kudron, Annie Payton, Asia Jackson and Alexis Carter in serving the food. Epps also worked in the kitchen assisting with The INN’s volunteer staff.
“I think the team being there brought their spirits up, and I know being able to give back in a small way was very rewarding to our team,” Epps said. “It’s important to give back. Our community supports us and we want to do the same. It’s humbling to know you’re helping to serve what might be the only meal of the day for someone.”
Kudron and Green helped distribute coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other drinks to guests.
Assistant coaches Bill Ferrara, Jessica Mannetti, Faisal Khan and director of operations Michael Gibson joined the rest of the players in delivering treys of food to guests.
After the meal, the entire team was personally thanked by Jean Kelly, who serves as the Executive Director of The INN. Kelly was present at Hofstra’s home victory over Old Dominion on Sunday when the team presented her with a check to sponsor the meal in a pregame ceremony.
“Jean has become a true inspiration and role model for everyone associated with our program,” Kilburn-Steveskey said.
The Pride (4-1) will take on the Dukes (5-1) in Harrisonburg, Va., at 5:30 p.m. The contest will be televised on the Comcast SportsNet family of networks and SNY. Full listings, live stats and all of your game day needs can be found on CAASports.com/GameDay.
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