During the holiday season, there’s a ton of giving. Or, in the case of the Barrie Sharks, just over a ton.
In December, the bantam ‘A’ girls hockey team donated upwards of 2,100 pounds of food, along with a number of cash donations, to the Barrie Food Bank.
“I am very proud of our girls team giving back to their community,” said Sharks coach Ron Hunt. “As a coach of competitive athletes, I strive to instill values of community involvement in hopes that they will carry it into their adult lives.”
Every year, Hunt chooses a charity for his team to donate to, deciding this year on the Barrie Food Bank. Once the philanthropic beneficiary was set, it was time for his Sharks to go to work.
“Back (in November), our young athletes went door to door, delivering food bank bags with fliers attached, asking for donations for the holiday food drive,” Hunt explained. “They delivered more than 300 bags to homes in the southeast end of Barrie.”
On a Sunday afternoon in early December, even the frigid temperatures couldn’t stop the Sharks from coming out with great enthusiasm and smiles as they went out to collect the food. After pounding the pavement, the bantam squad was able to fill five pickup trucks worth of goods.
“The team all stepped on the scale and the food collected was more than the total team weight,” Hunt said.
Having now coached for 11 years, Hunt has brought forth a challenge to his teams every year to help those in need.
“I feel it is important for young athletes to give back to their community, so they realize the importance of helping people that are less fortunate than them,” Hunt said. “The ultimate goal (of this) is for them to continue to give back when they become adults.”
The coach added extra incentive for his players to collect more food, offering up prizes for those that collected the most items.
“Of course, the ultimate winners (were) those in need during the holiday season,” Hunt said.
Sure enough, Hunt found that his Sharks were already very much on board with the idea of helping others, getting their own satisfaction from what they had done to help the community.
“Seeing how proud they are of their good deeds is amazing,” Hunt said. “My players always get involved and try to make the event a huge success. This year, they went above and beyond my expectations.”
At the end of the day, it’s the effort put forth in a drive like this that really makes Hunt smile.
“I am so proud of my team’s accomplishments,” Hunt said. “It (is great), knowing we (are working) together and helping to make people’s lives a little easier during the holiday season.”
Photo: The Barrie Sharks bantam ‘A’ team raised more than 2,100 pounds of food for the Barrie Food Bank.