Thanksgiving. It’s a time to share a smorgasbord of food with our closest friends and family. But the reality is, not every family gets to enjoy the feast many of us take for granted.
So as most students finished up classes and headed home for the holidays last Wednesday, about 20 College of Idaho student-athletes selflessly volunteered their time to serve Thanksgiving dinners at the First Church of the Nazarene in Nampa, helping the Boise Rescue Mission serve 4,000 meals across the Treasure Valley.
“The students made a positive impact for a lot of people,” said Jason Billester, Boise Rescue Mission vice president of development. “We appreciated their help. They were on the front lines getting turkey meals to a lot of single moms and children.”
The effort was led by C of I football coach Mike Moroski, and included other head coaches and athletes from Yotes football, volleyball, track and field, soccer and basketball teams. The Yotes brought turkey, sides and drinks to the table—along with something even more important.
“The student-athletes really brought hope to the table for Thanksgiving,” Billester said.
For all involved, volunteering was a chance to take the C of I campus culture—one of acceptance, understanding and support—and inject it into the community.
“When you’re able to take that culture outside of campus, it can really make an impact on somebody,” said Zach Hall, a junior football player.
That impact can be as simple as flashing a smile or lending an ear of support and listening to someone. Such was the case for junior soccer player Natalie Cacchillo. After serving her table, she sat and talked with a man for 45 minutes.
“He seemed like he really just needed to talk, so I let him talk,” she said.
Both Hall and Cacchillo said it can be easy to take things for granted, but that serving others helped remind them how much they had to be thankful for.
“We’re playing football and other sports at The College of Idaho, we’re obviously very blessed,” Hall said. “It’s nice to be able to give back.”
Senior cross-country runner Dylan Walker was impressed by the strong turnout from his fellow student-athletes and their willingness to be unselfish with their time. And as Walker was unable to go home for Thanksgiving, serving at the Mission also allowed him to enjoy a family atmosphere during the holiday.
“I didn’t go home for break, being from Montana, so it was a good way to get that Thanksgiving feeling,” he said.
The Boise Rescue Mission invites students to serve the community throughout the year (click here for more info). Serving about 1,000 meals every day, it’s only through the help of volunteers that the mission can continue helping the many families in need within our community.
The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.