Nearly two dozen Kellogg Community College baseball players spent a recent Friday morning packing boxes of food and working with elementary school students to make blankets for veterans.
Sophomore centerfielder Jake Miller was among the players at the headquarters of Community Action, where the team helped package 900 boxes of food for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to distribute to low-income people in the region.
“It’s huge,” Miller said of the team’s effort. “It’s huge for the community and it’s huge for our baseball team. Everyone respects our team more because of this.”
Miller and the others are no strangers to volunteer work. Team members volunteer weekly at the area nonprofit student-athlete support service New Level Sports, helping youth with their homework, playing games and eating dinner with them and sometimes just hanging out with them to talk about their days.
“It’s always fun helping those kids out,” Miller said. “They always have rough days at school and we help cheer them up.”
On the other side of town that Friday morning was Derek Yoder, who, with another group of players, was assisting Renee Purdy’s fourth graders at Urbandale Elementary. They made blankets and cards the kids would later take to veterans at the local Veterans Affairs facility.
“Whenever opportunities come up we usually take advantage of them and help out where we can,” Yoder said. “It’s really important. It gives us a chance to get out in the community.”
Purdy said they were expecting volunteers as part of KCC’s Bruins Give Back volunteer event, which is held three times a semester at area locations, but they didn’t know the volunteers would be student-athletes until they arrived.
“We didn’t know they were coming, and when they walked in in their blue (KCC) shirts the kids were excited,” Purdy said. “They’ve been awesome. They’ve done 20 quilts in an hour and a half.”
Nine-year-old Isaac Turner said he was excited the players stopped by. Usually his class would be spending that time studying, Turner said.
“This is better than reading because we’re doing things,” he said.
And the kids weren’t the only ones enjoying themselves.
“I’ve never made a blanket like this before in my life,” Yoder said, fabric draped across his lap. “But it’s been fun.”
For more information about the baseball program at Kellogg Community College, visit www.kellogg.edu/athletics/baseball/index.html.
For more information about the next Bruins Give Back events, which are scheduled for Dec. 14, visit www.kellogg.edu/socialscience/servicelearning/projects.html.