Athletic Teams Donate More Than 5,000 Items to Charity

Dec. 9, 2002

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University athletic department's 17 varsity programs donated 5,183 items to the Second Harvest Food Bank in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, almost seven times the volume donated by the Broncos last season.

The effort was part of a campus-wide initiative, sponsored by the Campus Ministry, who estimated that the athletic department most likely gathered more items for donation than the rest of the campus community combined.

The Student-Athlete Leadership Committee sponsored the event, with SALC advisor Valeri Quintero encouraging teams to compete against each other. The competition was based on the average number of items collected per person for each team. The men's golf squad earned a solid victory, gathering 167.89 items per golfer. The women's golf program came in second, at 105.90. Rounding out the top five were men's cross country (43.07), women's water polo (33.42) and softball (21.87).

"We found out about the food drive the week of and really wanted to do what we could," head men's golf coach John Kennaday said on behalf of his team.

Former women's basketball player and SALC Community Outreach Chair Caroline Gruening was credited with the idea, according to Quintero. The task was passed down to current chair and cross country junior Milena Basile, with the help of senior women's soccer player Erin Sharpe.

"We are working with student-athletes; everybody likes to win," Quintero explained. "We thought a little competition would spark interest, but I was not prepared for the overwhelming response we received from the programs. Our SALC representatives really got the word out to their teammates and the coaches were very receptive to helping out. Every Bronco wanted to win, but in a way that was helpful to others as well."

"This year's food drive was amazing," Basile added. "The teams were really into it which led to a huge increase in food donated. They were super competitive and kept sneaking in to see how much other teams had brought in. Not only does the competitive part of the food drive make the event fun, but it also brought in much needed food."

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