Aug. 24, 2011
Stanford, Calif. - Wednesday started early for the Men's Soccer team as they spent their morning serving breakfast to homeless families and individuals at the Opportunity Center. The team engaged with the community to share bagels, juice and conversation with more than 50 patrons who use the facility as a haven during the day to shower, rest and get a balanced meal.
"Wednesday is a day we do not typically serve breakfast, so when groups like this can come in and offer that service, it makes a huge difference to our residence who would otherwise go without, sometimes until the evening meal," said Kristen Chandler, Outreach Coordinator for the Opportunity Center.
The team was able to share their experiences and connect with patrons over the shared love for soccer. "It makes my day to see the soccer team out here this morning! Seeing these college students taking time out of their day is really wonderful," explained one Opportunity Center patron who is new to the program.
After breakfast, the team volunteered to stay longer to help organize the Opportunity Center's donation closet, where donations of personal hygiene items and clothing are stored. Things such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and shaving items are in high demand.
"This is a great experience for the guys and being involved in both distributing food and organizing donations," said Assistant Coach Gregg Olsen, who also participated Wednesday morning. "This really shows how much the team can accomplish in a short time when they work together, and the importance of being involved in our community."
As the team was leaving, several athletes were talking about ways to be involved in the future including engaging their dorms to host future breakfasts and collecting toiletries from hotels when their team travels. "I think we all had a great time today," said Senior Clayton Holz. "This definitely gives our team ideas for how we can be active in the community going forward as well, and support some of the programs already in place in the community."
About Opportunity Center: The Opportunity Center provides services and resources for the more than 200 homeless individuals and families in the Mid-peninsula area, of which more than 50 are women with children. For more information, or to get involved with the Opportunity Center, visit http://www.communityworkinggroup.org/opportunitycenter.html
About Cardinal for the Community: Cardinal for the Community connects Stanford student-athletes with community groups to support the surrounding community. C4C is supported by Stanford Athletics and the Haas Center for Public Service. For more information visit REPLACE_ME