TU students collect cans

Published 10:58 pm Thursday, January 15, 2009

Every year in the month of November, student-athletes and student trainers at Troy University collect canned goods for needy families.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Troy’s student trainers have been working together for five years to coordinate the project.

Every year in the middle of October, boxes are placed in the coaches’ offices and locker rooms of all of Troy’s 17 varsity sports and in the athletic training room. Throughout the rest of October and the beginning of November the athletes and trainers bring in canned goods.

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During the second or third week of November the goods are collected and taken to the Pike County Human Resources Office. Pike County, in which Troy is located, is one of the poorest counties in Alabama. This year the donations were needed more than ever, due to a lack of food on the shelves at the human resources office.

Dr. John “Doc” Anderson, Program Director for the Athletic Training Education Program at Troy, is the founder of the project and has been directing it during its five years of existence.

“I saw it as a way for our kids to deliver,” Anderson commented when asked why he started the project. “It made the community realize that they can excel off the field as well as on the field.”

“The bottom line is helping families that need the help the most,” Matt Mayotte, Director of Student-Athlete Services, said.

That is exactly what the athletes and trainers at Troy have been doing. This year alone they donated well over 2,000 pounds of food to the residents of Pike County.

“As student-athletes, we don’t realize how fortunate we are to be healthy,” Ryan Schmeling, president of SAAC said. “And we don’t realize how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to get an education. It feels good to help out where we can.”

However, the benefits that the families of Pike County receive aren’t the only benefits that come from this food drive.

“I think it benefits our student-athletes tremendously to be involved in this project,” Mayotte said, “It gives them a sense of gratitude and helps them understand that there are people that are struggling everyday.”

Anderson explained even further.

“To have the student-athletes and student trainers working together for such a good cause really gives everyone a sense of family,” Doc explained.

Every year the athletes and trainers try to surpass the amount of food they raised the previous year, and if that mind-set stays in place, what is still a fairly new project for the Trojans, will continue to grow and soon become a long-standing tradition.