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Gladiators Sports

Article from Chronicle re: Food Pantry/Our Boys

Posted Friday, January 28, 2011 by Chronicle
Every month, players haul thousands of pounds of food for people in need, By Geri Corey

Goshen — “The community supports us, so we’re supporting the community,” is how 16-year-old Michael Olah explained why he’s helping out at the Goshen Ecumenical Food Pantry.

Michael is a member of the Goshen High School football team. A group of players have been helping on a regular basis to keep the pantry stocked with food. About once a month they show up at the First Presbyterian Church in Goshen to unload a truck full of food—carrying it up a floor and a half-of stairs. This month they hauled 4,800 pounds of food. Last month it was 6,500 pounds of food.

It’s hard work, but the young men don’t mind.

“It’s definitely a good work-out,” said offensive tackle Alec Marvin. “I broke a sweat.”

Eris Nahoum, 16, said, “It feels good to help people who are needy.” Team Captain Brent VanDeWeert, 17, agreed. “I feel good about helping,” he said.

Their help is a welcome asset to the food pantry, which serves about 85 families a month, said board member John Strobl. Although the food is stored at and distributed from the First Presbyterian Church, all local churches contribute, including St. James Episcopal Church, Goshen United Methodist Church, St. John the Evangelist, Goshen Christian Reformed, A.U.M.P., and Temple Beth Shalom in Florida.

Last year, the football team decided it was important to make a contribution, said Coach Chip Elliott. The mother of defensive lineman Chris Musumeci, Pat, suggested that the players help out at the pantry, something she had been doing for years. This was last January, and team members have been helping ever since.

In fact, the players took it a step further. Working with the parents club, the boys organized a community dinner at St. James Episcopal Church last July.

On the day of food distribution—the second Saturday of each month—the boys come early to unload the bread or other food trucks. They form a human chain to pass bags filled with oatmeal, tuna fish, soups, pancake mix, spaghetti sauce and plenty more down from one to another from the upstairs storage room. And they offer help in carrying grocery bags to people’s cars. Food is distributed from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. each month.

“Whether they are unloading a truck or serving at a community dinner, the work builds unity and strength,” said Elliott. The boys talk to others at school, encouraging them to get involved, he said.

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