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Student-Athletes Ramp Up Participation in NEC Holiday Food Drive

Pioneers achieve a near 50 percent increase in food donations compared to 2015

Sacred Heart University helped the Northeast Conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (NEC SAAC) take a huge bite out of hunger with the committee’s second annual food drive.

The NEC SAAC collected 7,441 non-perishable food items late last year, a 48.7 percent increase from the prior year’s total.

Sacred Heart, which sent 1,230 non-perishable food items to St. Charles Parish in Bridgeport, placed third in the league-wide effort. Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., claimed first place after donating 1,402 items to its local food bank. Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., took second place with its donation of 1,256 items to the Rhode Island Food Bank.

Each of the league’s 10 core member institutions had SAAC leaders who organized collection efforts on their respective campuses prior to the holiday season and selected local charities to receive the donated food.

Each of the top three finishers in 2016’s canned food drive competition surpassed the previous year’s first-place total of 1,073 items.

The canned food drive competition is only one of the charitable acts that the NEC SAAC organizes each year. The group’s executive members recently presented a $12,000 check to the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation based in New Oxford, Pa. The funds, which were raised from the group’s annual “Money Wars” fundraiser, will assist children under age 18 and their families who are facing the hardships of a cancer diagnosis.

The NEC SAAC’s community service work fits into the conference’s #conNECt campaign. Throughout the academic year, the campaign aims to highlight the “connections” NEC student-athletes make outside their sport and the good works for which they are responsible.