Two Woolwich minor hockey teams got into the giving spirit last weekend, with the U12 and U11 select teams both hosting donation drives for Woolwich Community Services.
The UI2 team was originally planning on hosting a ‘Secret Santa’ gift exchange, but decided to raise money to buy toys for boys in the community who are in need of gifts for Christmas.
“We call this campaign 12 to 12 – 12-year-old boys giving to 12-year-old boys. We collected over $500 and we bought some toys for them to enjoy over the holidays. It’s fantastic,” explained parent Agnes Lehtonen.
Saturday saw the boys buying gifts at the Walmart store in St. Jacobs.
“It was fun. A lot of people in the community don’t have money; their parents don’t have money to buy things for their kids, because they’re trying to buy food,” said goalie Mason Gruhl.
“[They are] working their job trying to buy food and things like that, so they don’t have the money to pay for presents for the kids. For people that do have enough money to do something for other people, it is important for those people to do that,” he said.
Shopping for boys their age made it easier, said team captain Carson Kellough.
“We tried to pick stuff that we would enjoy seeing and kind of the stuff that we like,” he said.
Doing the donation drive “felt pretty good,” the boys said.
“It makes other people feel happy and it makes yourself feel happy. Because you feel like I did something good today,” said Gruhl.
“Most times [giving] feels better than getting stuff,” added Kellough.
The U11 select team coached by Jon Berger did a food drive that saw them collect some 150 items of food for the food bank at WCS.
“When we had our parent meeting at the start of the season, we said we were going to be doing a food drive close to Christmas. We all live in this township and community. Aside from teaching these boys or kids about hockey, we want to teach them about other things outside of hockey too. Giving back to the community and helping those in need, especially closer to the holiday season, [is important] with the costs of stuff now,” Berger said.
“There’s more and more people using the services in the community.”
Each of the 15 kids on the team brought in between eight and 10 items, Berger said.
The players responded very positively to the drive, he added.
“We gave around 10 days’ notice. We just said, ‘Hey, we have a practice next Sunday, we want to bring in our food and have a picture in front of the tree and it came together quick.’ We had it on our team calendar and everyone knew it was coming, but just the way it pulled together…,” he said.
As Woolwich Minor Hockey has a food donation drive until December 20, Berger said he hopes his team can be an inspiration to others in the community.
“There’s so many teams in the community that if you got every team at every age group bringing 100 or 150 items, that’s pretty powerful.”