CAC SAACs Combine to Donate more than 22 Thousand Pounds of Food to Area Charities

CAC SAACs Combine to Donate more than 22 Thousand Pounds of Food to Area Charities

York, Pa. - The St. Mary's College of Maryland Student-Athlete Advisory Committee contributed 200 pounds of food to the Food Pantry at St. Cecilia's Church.

St. Mary’s participated in the Food Collection challenge for the fourth-straight year, collecting 200 pounds of food from November 13th to the 22nd. The tennis team led the Seahawks, who contributed the donations to the Food Pantry at St. Cecilia’s Church in St. Mary’s City. In four years, the Seahawks have donated a ton (2,224.2 lbs.) of food and clothing.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at eight Capital Athletic Conference member schools combined to collect more than 11 tons of food for a variety of food collection agencies throughout the Middle Atlantic Region prior to the Thanksgiving Holiday break.

The total amount collected in food donations and cash totaled 22,692 pounds (one dollar equals one pound). It is the highest total in the five-year history of the program, breaking the record set last year of 18,300 donated pounds of food. It’s also nearly double the amount of donations that the CAC membership collected in the first three years of the program – a combined 14,500 from 2010-12.

The CAC Challenge concept was initiated by the University of Mary Washington SAAC leadership in a challenge to the other conference members at the organization’s Fall 2010 conference meeting. Each participating school can pick any 10-day period between Oct. 1 and Thanksgiving Day to collect food for a local charity.

The UMW SAAC recommended an extension of the program to the entire CAC membership. After discussion, the CAC SAAC members agreed to allow each school to pick its own 10-day collection period to work in conjunction with other events sponsored by the school or the SAAC.

For the second-straight year, Christopher Newport University’s SAAC led the conference with 7,610 pounds of food collected between November 4th and 14th for the Virginia-Peninsula Food Bank. That total is slightly higher than the 7,440 collected in 2013, CNU’s first year of membership in the CAC. The University’s student body also traditionally collects food prior to the holiday season and last year collected more than 10,000 pounds of food for the Newport News, Va., area.

Mary Washington surpassed its own school record this year, collecting 4,729 pounds of food to donate to the Fredericksburg (Va.) Food Bank. UMW boasts a well-established all-campus competition for more than a decade, both among its athletic teams and the rest of the campus. The entire university participates annually, creating competitions between residence halls, clubs, the athletic department and others. Prior to joining forces for the campus-wide competition, the athletic teams compete internally for top honors within the department, which earns the winning team a pizza party.

The UMW softball team defended the title won last year when the players combined for an athletic-department high of 1,196 pounds collected – more than 350 pounds more than last year’s total. Other leaders included the swimming (363 lbs.), track & field (323.5 lbs), field hockey (231.5 lbs.) and men’s lacrosse (231 lbs.) teams.

In just the second year participating in the CAC Food Drive Challenge, Penn State Harrisburg collected 2,600 pounds of food and $1,000 in cash donations for the local food bank and Head Start program. The Lions far outdistanced last year’s collection total by more than 1,000 percent.

Salisbury University, participating in the challenge for just the second-time, reached the 2,000-pound plateau for the second-straight year on behalf of the Joseph House in Salisbury, Md. The Sea Gull football team led the athletic department in collecting food at varsity athletic contests during the regular-season and postseason. The Athletic Training Program also played a key role, helping to facilitate the canned food drive.

Marymount University, Frostburg State University, York College of Pennsylvania, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland were also strong performers in this year’s food challenge.

Participating for the third time, Marymount more than doubled its previous best collection total by donating 1,736 pounds of food to Martha’s Table, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that provides emergency groceries, teaches recipients about food and its preparation, and delivers hot meals nightly to three locations in the District. The baseball team collected the largest total of food, over 1,000 pounds.

The MU SAAC also traditionally organizes an event in which student-athletes prepare, package and deliver peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to individuals and families without homes in the nation’s capital.

Frostburg State’s SAAC, led by the field hockey team, collected 1,438 pounds of food during November. Coach Carly Sweeney’s crew collected 171 pounds of food. Coordinated with the food drive was a Thanksgiving Basket program for Sponsor-a-Family program, organized by the FSU Office of Civic Engagement. The United Methodist Food Bank was another benefactor of the Bobcats’ efforts. It was the second time in four years of participation that FSU collected more than 1,000 pounds of food.

The York County Food bank received 1,379 pounds of food, courtesy of the York College Spartans SAAC. That total is more than 500 pounds higher than either of the two previous years of participation in the CAC Challenge. Prior to 2012, YCP’s SAAC coordinated an award-winning "Christmas in the Community" celebration, which was nationally recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Athletics Directors (NACDA).

Also supporting the holiday season spirit of giving, the Southern Virginia University student-athletes volunteered with a local Turkey Trot run on Thanksgiving morning.

Additionally, all the proceeds from the Wesley College women’s basketball games in 2014-15 will be donated to The Cure Starts Now Foundation, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cure Starts Now Foundation started in support of Mount St. Joseph freshman Lauren Hill, who suffers from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a cancer which strikes at the heart of childhood. Hill gained national attention to the disease when she played her first college game against Hiram College in early November at Xavier University.