BISMARCK, ND - The athletes at the University of Mary are not only busy on the court, field, or track, but also in the community. They have contributed to a number of community events, and on Sunday evening they worked at the Samaritans Feet shoe drive for the second year in a row, a charity that gives back to children that don't have as much as we do.
Joe Kittell, U-Mary Men's Basketball Coach: "There's a lot of kids in need of just a little hope and a pair of shoes,” says Joe Kittell, Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball Team.
Anna Schmelzer, U-Mary Junior Guard says, “it’s really good just to be able to give back to the community and be, be more engaged with all the little kids like we used to do al all of our camps, but then this is just another way to kind of like show them that we were there too and just for someone to look up to them."
Student athletes from the basketball teams, volleyball and baseball teams came out to share a smile, and make children feel good during the Samaritans Feet shoe drive.
Tom Kubank, U-Mary Junior Forward says, "it means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to the guys to be able to give back. As student-athletes we're very blessed and we set a lot of opportunities a lot of kids don't get." "It feels great. It's great to get out here and see little kids, they're people who look up to us and they think that we're great and just to be able to give them a new pair of shoes, it's a confidence booster,” says Cassie Askvig, U-Mary Freshman Forward. “It makes them feel good, and it's just great to give back to the community in a positive way outside of basketball."
Denise Blomberg, Samaritans Feet Regional Director mentions, "you know most average person doesn't wake up in the morning saying, 'I think I'm going to get up and wash the feet of someone', so there's a, we just ask that kids step outside their comfort zone, and the coaches really help initiate that."
Marauders were separated into groups during the event to make sure every child felt special.
"So basically we have some guys greeting the kids at the door,” says Kubank.
For Askvig, there’s one part of this drive that means the most to her. "People signing kids in, then people going over to wash feet, and that's the most humbling part."
Kittell adds, "and then as that person's washing their feet, the original greeter will get them a pair of shoes, and then when they leave, they got some sack-pack's with some school supplies, and just a really neat experience, lots of smiles from the people volunteering and from the kids."
Kittell has been working this event for four years, and hopes to keep it going.