A group of Rustlers have raised more than $2,300 in cash and gifts, along with food and clothes for families in need this Christmas.
Brad Howard, the head coach of the Rustlers U11 A4 team helped organized ‘Toy Mountain’ along with his manager, Janis Poitras earlier this month.
“Initially the idea was to have the two Rustlers teams I coach U11-A4 and U9-C1 teams get involved and then Janis also invited her younger kids’ team U8-C6 to get involved. The message to parents was to help fill ‘Coach Brad’s’ garage with toys and food, and help support families in need of a helping hand this Christmas,” he said.
In addition to support from Rustler families, Howard’s sons 10-year-old Declan and eight-year-old Holden went door-to-door handing out flyers to neighbours, asking to help support their ‘Toy Mountain’. They then asked their school Principal, Kristi Blakeway at Laity View Elementary if she would share the information with families which she was happy to do, said Howard.
“I ended up picking up a trunk full of toys and food from Laity View this past Friday as many families wanted to support!,” he said.
In total, Howard and Poitras ended up collecting over $2,300 in cash and gift cards and also collected food and clothing donations. The teams were able to support six full families, and provided gift cards to five teenagers, supporting a total of 11 families from the community.
“So what went from asking a few Rustlers teams to get involved really blossomed into something larger with support from Rustlers families, neighbours, Laity View Elementary, friends and family, and other members of the community. It was truly a team effort!” said Howard.
In addition to Toy Mountain initiative, the U11-A4 Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey team has also been volunteering to ring the kettle bells for the Salvation Army throughout the month of December.
“As a Dad and Coach I feel it’s important for our kids to learn the importance of giving back to the community as often it is the community that is there to support our teams, clubs, schools, etc. Volunteering in the community teaches the kids so many useful skills including teamwork, leadership, empathy, communication skills, and social skills just to name a few,” he said.
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