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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

ISU Student-Athletes Give Back

Release: 12/03/2009
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AMES, Iowa- Members of Iowa State's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) came together this holiday season to assemble and deliver a dozen Thanksgiving baskets to less fortunate families in the Ames area on Nov. 19.

SAAC has provided Thanksgiving dinners to less fortunate members of the Ames community for over 10 years. The tradition of giving back continued this year as the SAAC worked with the First Christian Church in Ames to locate families in need.

The student-athletes shopped for Thanksgiving basket items with funding that comes out of the SAAC budget. This year, the baskets included a full traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Iowa State gymnast Ashley Kent helped to assemble this year's Thanksgiving baskets.

"I have been involved in thanksgiving baskets for the past three years at Iowa State," Kent said. "I got involved because I think it is very important to give back to our community and help out those in need to have a good Thanksgiving dinner.

"The experience is so rewarding. I really hope that these baskets can give families in need a chance to spend time together at the holidays."

Men's cross country and track runner Alex Whitesell also participated.

"I got involved in the Thanksgiving basket project because it is a great way to give back to the Ames community," Whitesell said. "I feel as a student-athlete it is our responsibility to give back to the community that supports both our university and athletic program.  There are times that it is easy to forget that Ames has everyday people who are struggling and can't provide a Thanksgiving dinner and it feels great to provide them with that dinner.

"The experience was great because I got to interact with other student-athletes who cared about the Ames community as well. It made me proud to be a Cyclone."

Gymnast Jasmine Swyningan shopped for the baskets.

"I became involved with the Thanksgiving Basket project this year because I believe it's a great thing for us to do to give to those in need," Swyningan said. "The holiday season is so stressful for everyone, and anything we can do to help reduce financial burden for people in our community seems necessary."

The Iowa State men's golf team delivered all 12 baskets to members of the First Christian Church in Ames.

For the remainder of the holiday season, each team will be adopting a family through the Youth and Shelter Services Adopt-A-Family program and purchasing presents for them.

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