On Saturday, Sept. 15, the University of Dallas women’s lacrosse team traveled to North Texas World Vision in Grand Prairie, Texas, to participate in a service project for the relief of the victims of Hurricane Florence. For two hours the team assisted the effort to send aid to the Carolinas.
“We wanted to help with relief for people that don’t have what we have,” said senior Erika Keever. “[World Vision] normally sends out to wherever the most need [is]. It just happened that while we were there everything we were doing was going to the Carolinas.”
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization known for its global commitment to community development, child well-being and, as in this case, disaster response.
“We prepared items to be shipped to the Carolinas for the hurricane relief,” said senior Lexi Leite. “We took down a lot of different things that had been shipped to them from Costco, goods they are unable to sell anymore, and this company takes them and distributes them. We helped process these items, and we helped them sort it out and figure out what could be shipped to the people in need.”
The team helped sort donations and package meals that would be delivered to the Carolinas. Junior Lizz Winkler was part of the group that helped package meals for the victims.
“There were four of us in my group where we packaged meals together, and we had to write encouraging notes,” said Winkler. “[The notes] could be about anything. We just had to write something encouraging.”
By the end of the day, the team had packaged 21,000 thousand meals.
“There were tons of stuff in the packages,” said Head Coach Destinee Johnson. “There was stuff from baby food, baby diapers, health and body things, office supplies, food, housing things, recreational things, air beds, tools, shoes, clothes, and many other things.”
The lacrosse team had planned for months to participate in a service project. Only by coincidence did the team happen to join the Hurricane Florence relief effort.
“We planned it months ago,” said Winkler. “As [Florence] started hitting the Carolinas we started realizing it was a good thing that we had picked [World Vision] because everything we did on Saturday went toward the people affected by the hurricane.”
Coach Johnson’s desire to help the community and build up the UD women’s lacrosse program is what led ultimately to the team’s act of service.
“[Coach Johnson] wanted to get out there in the community and get lacrosse out there, but also have us experience some kind of service work so we can just kind of learn to work toward something bigger,” said junior Alexandra Parkey.
While the team was primarily there to provide their service, that did not stop their work from being multifunctional.
“It was a lot of labor,” said Parkey. “I was surprised at how much we were actually lifting. Coach [joked], ‘it’s like your all getting your lifting in today instead of tomorrow.’”
This act of service enkindled the spirit of generosity and love in the hearts of the team, as well as a desire to return and give again.
“Being on the giving side for something like a hurricane was especially personal for me. I’ve been there and I’ve seen how damaging a hurricane really is, and to be able to make a difference is so special.” said Leite. “Hopefully this is something we can do more of in the future. I think giving back to the community is important … we can take two hours out of one day a month and do something to help others.”
“It was a lot of hard work. We got there and honestly I had no idea what we were actually going to be doing,” said Parkey. “Then the floor manager started talking to us about everything and explaining what we’re doing, the mission behind it and the reason we were doing it, and it just kind of put me in the mindset of ‘alright, these people really need my help, and I’m going to help them.’”