Courtesy: Courtesy Photo
Student-athletes (L-R) Ashley Gilson (softball), Macy Merchant (softball), Bailey Brandon (soccer) and Stefanie Turner (soccer) help gather toys and clothing in December as part of the United Way's Adopt-A-Family Program.
SAAC, CMU Student-Athletes Spreading Holiday Cheer

MOUNT PLEASANT – Hosting a clothing drive and participating in the United Way’s Annual Adopt-a-Family Program are ways that student-athletes at Central Michigan University are reaching out to the local community this holiday season.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, working alongside the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center of CMU, served as a host to the United Way’s Annual Adopt-a-Family program this year.

“Mount Pleasant is our student-athletes’ home away from home, and learning the value of service and giving back to the community while being in college is a valuable resource for our student-athletes who will be contributing members of society when they graduate from CMU,” said Daniel Heck, coordinator of marketing and community relations for the Central Michigan Athletics Department.

Committee members collected money from their teammates. Every team worked hard to raise an approximate total of $700 for 26 individuals who are members of six selected families in need.

During its annual shopping event in early December to benefit the cause, SAAC members purchased toys, clothes, supplies and even a few special presents for parents, to give these families the opportunity to partake in the holiday season. The gifts were delivered later in the week.

In conjunction with the Adopt-a-Family Program student-athletes brought clothing to donate to the Dick Enberg Academic Center throughout the last few weeks of the semester. The items were donated to the Christmas Outreach Program, which has been distributing clothing to families in need throughout Isabella County for 32 years.

CMU student-athletes have been helping the surrounding community by organizing and participating in these events for the past 12 years.

These events have been made possible by the SAAC brainstorming the best possible ways they can help the community and give back some of the local support they have received this year. The committee prides themselves in their continued community service efforts. They start planning and preparation for these events at the beginning of each school year.

This year alone the SAAC has partnered with the American Red Cross and the Isabella County Food Pantry helping to collect 3,400 food items for the community. The CHIPYS event, held this fall, raised over $5,000 in proceeds towards cancer research.

During the spring semester the SAAC is partnering with Special Olympics Michigan for the ‘Spread the Word to End the Word’ campaign, putting on the Chippewa Connections Conference and holding the annual Jock Rock event where the proceeds will be donated to a charity of choice.

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