The University of South Carolina Aiken softball team has routinely been good on the field, but this year the team made a huge difference off the field as well.
This year, the Pacers worked in conjunction with the Salvation Army to adopt a family for the holiday season.
With the student-athletes gaining a lot from the community in the past, the team decided to give back. Instead of the team's annual Christmas party, head coach Jerry Snyder's team decided to spend the money they would have used for a party, in addition to having fundraisers, to give back to the community.
Senior Hillary Stewart spearheaded the project from the start while assistant coach Erin Ward talked with the Salvation Army about which family to assist this year.
After two bake sales that raised $531, the players continued to fundraise on their own until the squad raised over $900 for the family, which included three girls under the age of 13.
"This was an amazing project that the team took to heart," Ward said. "The student-athletes have been fortunate since their arrival on campus and wanted to make a huge impact in a family's life this holiday season."
In addition to toys, the squad made sure to get multiple outfits for each child, multiple pairs of shoes, household items, school supplies and gift cards.
The team gathered and wrapped all the presents for the family – while many were moved to tears knowing they made a difference this year.
This was the first time the team had been involved with an Adopt A Family through Salvation Army – but it is not the last. The Pacers are already talking about what they will do next year.
To make a contribution to the softball team's 2014 Adopt A Family fund, contact Erin Ward at ErinW@usca.edu.
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