With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, Seton Hall Athletics recently wrapped up its "Seton Hall Gives Thanks" campaign, which is aimed at providing support to local families in need.
As a Catholic institution, servant leadership is at the core of the Seton Hall mission. During a recent University-wide initiative that coincides with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (November 15-23), all 14 varsity athletic teams worked in conjunction with the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) to sponsor a Thanksgiving dinner for a local family in need.
Each squad was tasked with compiling a basket that featured many staples of a balanced Thanksgiving meal. Baskets were also to include sport-specific items and a homemade Thanksgiving card signed by team members and coaches.
"This was a very popular initiative for us last year and our student-athletes were as excited as anybody to be involved again this time around," said Roberto Sasso, Assistant Athletic Director/Student-Athlete Development & Leadership who also serves as the coordinator of the Helping Athletes Learn to be Leaders (H.A.L.L.) Program. "Its success is really driven by our their commitment and enthusiasm and they all did an excellent job coming together and putting something special together."
In the spirit of friendly competition, a contest was held to determine the team who compiled the most "spirited" basket. Following a vote amongst peers, the Seton Hall women's basketball team took home the title and received additional items to include when the baskets are delivered.
The baskets were then delivered to the Pierre Toussaint Food Pantry in Newark with the assistance of women's soccer team members Melissa Blevins (Laurel Springs, N.J.), Sarah Cortes (Paramus, N.J.) and Laura Dramis (Farmingdale, N.Y.).
"It was an amazing experience," said Cortes, a sophomore. "It was great to be a part of such a unified effort and then when we went to make the delivery, it was eye-opening to see all that they had collected overall. We were talking about getting even more involved next year because it's such a worthwhile and rewarding cause."