What's Behind this Sunday's Lacrosse UNITED Food Drive


Photo (cropped) by Julia M Cameron from Pexels.

Following the success of its 2019 food drive for Westwood Food Pantry, Westwood UNITED Lacrosse is once again coordinating a food drive for the pantry this Sunday, May 22, 2022, as it sets the wheels in motion to make the event an annual one celebrating community.

The members of all four Westwood lacrosse programs – Westwood’s Boys and Girls Youth Lacrosse and Boys and Girls High School Lacrosse teams - are collecting food and household donations for the Westwood Food Pantry online and in-person on Sunday, May 22, 2022. Donations of food and household items can be ordered online through Amazon to be shipped to a volunteer’s home for delivery to the food pantry. They can also be dropped off at Westwood High School’s Flahive Field this Sunday between 9:45 am. to 4:00 p.m. Westwood UNITED Lacrosse will sort through donated items and transport them from the field to Westwood Food Pantry.

Organizer Treacy Kiley, mother to a seventh grader and ninth grader who both play Boy's Lacrosse, notes that the food pantry experiences a "lull" around this time of year when donations drop off, as those in community head into their summer plans. She recalls how the idea of a lacrosse-led food drive for Westwood started. In 2019, in what Ms. Kiley refers to as “pre-pandemic” times, she and a group of Westwood's lacrosse families learned that supplies at Westwood Food Pantry were running very low. The families also realized that the next game for every one of Westwood’s lacrosse teams would be a home game, and that many of them would be congregating around Flahive Field that day.

The group made a "quick and dirty" plan to step up and answer the call for help. They asked each Westwood lacrosse player to ask three friends to bring donations for the food pantry to the playing fields. The games were scheduled throughout the day, and lacrosse families would be there the whole time to collect food. Their spontaneous efforts paid off when, at day’s end, they transported eight car loads of food donations from field to food pantry.

After that successful effort, there has been a short pause in another lacrosse-led effort for a food drive. In 2020, there was no lacrosse season. In 2021, a lacrosse season was announced at the last minute, leaving families scrambling to adjust to the change. Now, in 2022, with some semblance of normalcy returning to the programming schedule, Ms. Kiley's remembered the food drive from a few years ago.

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"When we got around to things starting up [with lacrosse] this season, my son has connections there, and it occurred to me that these kids have been separated in a variety of ways because of lockdown. So doing this again is a great way to remind them of the communities that they are a part of - not just lacrosse but also Westwood. It's important for them to know, 'You are part of a community and that if you need support, you can tap into."

No matter what type of year it is, this type of community building activity can create a significant impact, notes Ms. Kiley. She has been happy to see how eager the players are, regardless of what age they are. While she had doubts about volunteers signing up for the early 9:00 a.m. volunteer slot, that slot has been filled. Recently, she was sitting with her sons at an eatery when a few of the older lacrosse players, captains of their teams, stopped by her table. They told her how much they appreciated the chance to participate in the food drive.

“In pre-pandemic times, the takeaway was that if someone needs help, you can have an impact. The kids connect the dots. They learn that when there’s a need, and you try to be part of the solution, you are part of that community. During the pandemic, it’s important for the kids to see that when [they] need it, the community is there for [them].”

Thanks to Allison Drescher and Treacy Kiley and for sharing this news with Westwood Minute.

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