Owls and Huskies help in foodshare

Edward RudmanSports Writer

Southern Athletics continues to take part in community service and is giving back to the area, as the men’s basketball team paired up with UConn and Foodshare, a food bank in Bloomfield, Conn., for a food drive.

“You got to give back. We’ve all been blessed and fortunate enough to be pretty okay in life and there’s a lot of people out there struggling, especially during COVID,” said Head Coach Scott Burrell. “Being able to put smiles on faces, putting food in their car, knowing they need it, it hits you and you realize you need to do more to help people.”

Chris Smith, UConn’s all-time leading scorer and former teammate of Burrell, helped organize the event and contacted the Owls’ head coach about getting the program involved.

“All the UConn players still stay in contact with each other. So, I talk to Smith all the time. We have a group chat of like seven of us, so we talk often. He mentioned the event and the company he did it with, I did something for them during the break when COVID first hit. So, joining up with them, it was an easy sell and it’s for a great cause,” said Burrell.

By the end of the event, the two teams had filled approximately 2,000 trunks with food for those in need. Foodshare has been a prominent force during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are closing in on filling 200,000 cars since the beginning of the outbreak, according to FOX61.

On top of giving back to the community and people in need, Burrell was also happy about getting his current team and his alma-team together to have some interaction with each other off the court.

“It’s special, everyone knows of UConn but it’s great to have Southern out there and doing things for the community, getting the notoriety that they well deserve and doing something for a great cause. It was great to see those guys have a little camaraderie while helping out a lot of people,” said Burrell.

Smith has also started his own company called “Wear Ya Mask,” which aims to give ordinary people a non-confrontational way to encourage others to consider the safety of those around them and wear their masks. Smith decided that a portion of the proceeds from selling t-shirts and masks will go to Foodshare to further help the community.

The two basketball programs utilized their platform as athletes to help others, something the players and Burrell hope they can do again soon.

“It was great to get out there and show that we’re all in this together,” said forward Greg Jones, a senior. “As a community, we still have each other and I feel like it was great for the teams to give back to show that while the community supports us with what we do, we’re going to support them right back. It shows people on the team, it’s not about yourself all the time, it’s much bigger than you and I think it’s good the team saw that.

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