EDMONTON, AB – With all of the struggles of the world in 2020, the student-athletes, coaches, and staff of the Thunder Department of Athletics & Recreation wanted to take this time of pause to get involved in our local community, and make it a better place right in time for the holidays. The 11 Days of Giving campaign challenged all of our student-athletes and teams to find a unique way to take advantage of this gift of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic and find a way to help those who need it most around us.
The Women’s Volleyball team kicked off the campaign by partnering with the United Way and their Coats for Kids & Families program to collect donated winter coats for families across the Capital Region. The United Way launched this initiative in 1992, and delivered over 8000 coats last year alone. Emma Derbyshire, a 5th year setter for the Thunder, felt this charity was one worth supporting, saying “Our team chose Coats for Kids and Families because we know that during our cold winters, there is often an overwhelming demand for winter clothing. We know that the pandemic has brought about a great deal of stress and struggle for so many and we were hoping we could help those in need during this winter season.”. Head Coach Erinn Jacula added “Coats for Kids and Families helps thousands of kids and families stay warm during the cold winter months and we feel honored to be involved with such an impactful organization.”.
Starting in mid-November, the Thunder women’s volleyball team collected over 200 coats with a donation booth on campus, and relying on family and friends to donate. 3rd year libero, Renae Regal stated “I am so glad we chose to donate to the Coats for Kids and Families organization. Not only does it feel extremely rewarding, but during this pandemic and cold weather outside, it makes us feel even more helpful. It feels extraordinary that we were able to provide and show how our team cares for our community beyond the school!”.
Reflecting on the desire to take action, Derbyshire said “Our team feels that it is important to be active and involved in the community, because growing up in sport we have all experienced the effects of a close knit community and the ways it can make such a positive impact in the lives of those involved. With this comes the need and feeling of wanting to give back and contribute to the close connections of communities surrounding Concordia and within the city as well.". Jacula couldn’t be more proud of her team, stating “I’m tremendously grateful to lead this fantastic group of women. They consistently demonstrate compassion and care for the community and were thrilled to play a role in keeping our neighbours warm during these particularly difficult times.”.
Additional information for the Coats for Kids & Families and the United Way can be found at http://www.coatsforkidsandfamilies.ca/.