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Western Carolina Student-Athletes Help with "Operation Christmas Child" During Holiday Season

Dec. 8, 2005

By Erika Danford

Cullowhee, N.C. - During the waning moments of November and first part of December, student-athletes at Western Carolina University participated in a community service project to benefit Samaritan's Purse. "Operation Christmas Child" provides a message of hope in the form of a shoebox gift to children who are less fortunate around the world.

Since its inception in 1990, Operation Christmas Child has donated over thirty-eight million shoebox gifts. These gifts are packed in a standard shoebox and include personal hygiene items, school supplies, and small toys or stuffed animals. The WCU athletes have participated in this project for each of the past four years with their highest donation being 34 boxes last year.

This year, the athletes pledged sixty boxes to the cause. The Catamount student-athletes pulled together and ended up donating a total of 72 boxes this year, more than doubling their previous donation.

The teams and organizations that participated include WCU athletic training, baseball, volleyball, women's basketball, softball, cheerleading, men's and women's golf, football, track, cross country, and tennis.

In 2004, a total of seven million boxes were donated and were sent to ninety-five countries. This year, however, more boxes will stay in the United States to benefit the children displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Catamount Student-Athletes Ask for Assistance in SoCon Can Tab Donation Collection

The Southern Conference today announced a conference-wide community service project is in place to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Developed by the SoCon Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), athletes from all eleven conference schools will be collecting aluminum can tabs. The representing school at each Southern Conference Championship will collect their schools can tabs and deliver them to a Southern Conference Representative. Once all eleven schools make their contributions, the tabs will be sent to the national office of the Ronald McDonald House to benefit children with cancer and other diseases. This process will be repeated at each championship throughout the remainder of the year.

Can tabs will first be collected at the men's and women's basketball championships to be held March 2-5 in Charleston, SC. Residents from around Western North Carolina are asked to join the student-athletes in this service project. Drink can tab donations can be dropped off at the Athletic Department in the Ramsey Center Monday-Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.

The Ronald McDonald House Pop Tab Collection Program was established in 1987 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Ronald McDonald House community.