BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh student-athletes gave back to the community on Wednesday evening as the Lehigh C.O.A.C.H. (Community Outreach by Athletes who Care about Helping) program directed its 12th annual Adopt-A-Family event at Donegan Elementary School in Bethlehem. Each Lehigh athletic team adopted an underprivileged family to help share in the holiday season.
The teams raised money throughout the semester to purchase holiday presents for their adopted family, and on Wednesday, the Mountain Hawks presented those gifts to their families. In total, Lehigh student-athletes raised nearly $30,000 for the event.
"The meaning of Adopt-A-Family is to give back," said C.O.A.C.H. Board Co-Chair Isadore Carrie, a junior on the football team, "We all just come together and try to raise as much money as we can.
"You don’t really see the results of it until a day like today when you give your presents to the family. It just touches the parents," he continued. "You give the kids the Christmas that the parents couldn’t give them. It just means so much to us to give back to the community that surrounds our great school."
The teams met with their families, as children were allowed to open some presents on the spot. Santa Claus was on hand to spread holiday cheer, along with Clutch, the Lehigh Mountain Hawk, and food and drinks were provided to make the evening special for all parties involved.
"It’s always really exciting to come and see the families," said junior women’s soccer player Ali MacLeod. "When the kids come in, they’re a little shy at first, but once they open their presents, their faces light up.When we were carrying all their gifts out to their car, they couldn’t even believe it; they were so excited. One of the little girls keeps coming up and giving me hugs. It’s just nice to be able to be there and in a way, be role models for them. It makes this day extra special."
"Adopt-A-Family is always a great event," said field hockey senior and Adopt-A-Family Co-Chair Cassie Willard. "It’s amazing to have so many different people from so many different backgrounds come together. You can see here tonight, with so many smiling faces.
"We have Tony from the Goose, we have campus pizza," she continued. "It’s just great to have all different parts of the community come together to give these families a good Christmas. Roseann Corsi and Kelly Post really do a nice job. I know [Adopt-A-Family Co-Chair] Brittany Dickinson and the rest of the C.O.A.C.H. board put a lot of time into making this an incredible event."
Clutch was on hand for the evening's festivities...