SPECIAL FEATURE (Sept. 27, 2017) — Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) softball newcomers Ciera Martinez and Sierra Valadez talked about the team's annual trip to the San Antonio Food Bank last week.
"Giving is receiving, so giving back to the community felt really great," Martinez said.
Valadez has volunteered for other organizations and nonprofit entities, but this effort meant a lot to her. "It was very meaningful because we were giving back to the community, especially those affected by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and for the people from the Virgin Islands."
The Saints have been making trips to the Food Bank for the last seven years. The Food Bank serves 58,000 individuals a week in one of the largest service areas in Texas, and most recently, in those areas devastated by hurricanes throughout the state and beyond.
"We all bonded during our time at the Food Bank," Martinez said. Valadez agreed, "We definitely had to work together to make sure we packed items correctly. It was meaningful, but we had fun. We laughed a lot, but we knew the community service was serious."
The team has been practicing since this fall. They've been running and working out as well as doing field and batting activities and conditioning, so there has already been a lot of bonding going on, the two explained.
The women said their team packed 10,000 pounds of food, enough to make 7,000 pounds of meals. Their specific activities included sorting and packing produce, nonperishable foods and household items and preparing them for distribution. They also checked for expiration dates, opened packages and spoilage; labeled cans; and packed bags of food and household items. And, the team also cleaned the area and broke down boxes.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character program encourages its member teams to participate in community initiatives as part of its five core values: respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
To learn more about the San Antonio Food Bank, click here.
The Saints will host the annual OLLU Round Robin on Oct. 7-8 featuring Frank Phillips College, Coastal Bend College, Trinity University and Mountain View. They will travel to Kerrville, Texas, for the Schreiner University Fall Round Robin Oct. 14 and will play Glory Wilson, Next Gen Corpus and Schreiner.
On Oct. 29, OLLU will welcome softball alumni for a game at 2 p.m. The Saints will kick off their ninth season on Feb. 2, 2018, with a doubleheader against Coastal Bend College at home beginning at 1 p.m.