BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh student-athletes continued their tremendous work in the community on Wednesday as the Mountain Hawks conducted their 14th annual Adopt-A-Family event at Donegan Community School in Bethlehem. Each Lehigh 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.
“I think today is the best day ever. It’s more special than my Christmas,” said women’s soccer senior and Student Athlete Council (SAC) president Mary Grace Doyle. “I know it’s a lot of work, especially for the people who put it on like Liz [Lucas], Alex [Fizpatrick] and Roseann [Corsi]. It’s just so rewarding. We had a seven-year old boy who opened Legos and unleashed himself because he was so excited. He’s creating it right now. That in itself, to see him light up, is so rewarding. That’s the only way to put it.”
Fitzpatrick (women's lacrosse) and Lucas (softball) are this year’s Adopt-A-Family event coordinators, as they’ve worked with Lehigh’s Community Relations Coordinator Roseann Corsi since August.
“It’s fantastic,” said Lucas. “It’s really nice to see everything come together and see it happen. We planned for every detail way back in August then continuing to work to today. It’s nice to see the families and see how grateful and thankful they are.”
The teams met with their families, with each sport at a different table, as children were allowed to open some presents on the spot. Santa Claus was on hand spreading holiday cheer. Food and drinks were provided to round out a special evening for all parties involved.
The event was a culmination of hard work, including planning logistics, raising money, shopping, wrapping and much more.
“There are a lot of organizational things behind the scenes,” said Lucas. “We have about 25 families from each school. The principals go to each family and they go through and make a wish list for what the kids need (shoe size, shirt size, etc.). While they’re doing that, we’re working on distributing which team is assigned what family while beginning to raise money. Raising money is the biggest part. We couldn’t do it without the help of everyone.”
“They’re in late hours,” said Doyle. “Collecting money is about a two-week process. Then we go into counting it. From there, it goes into shopping while still trying to collect donations for other families. It’s constant communication to alumni and reaching out to sponsors.”
It’s quite a site to see Lehigh Athletics come together for an event like this.
“It’s really neat to see because everyone who needs to show up on our end comes,” said Lucas. “Every sports team is represented, every organization is represented. Then to see us come in and see our reactions to the kids’ reactions is phenomenal. The kid screams and gets really excited, but if you look at the student who’s there giving it to them, it’s a really cool thing.”
“This event has grown tremendously,” said Doyle. “Seeing all these student-athletes here is tremendous; I’ve never seen a room so packed. Everybody seems very enthusiastic about it. I think the energy level has really progressed over the years and people being more involved within this community service event.”