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Team starts Homeless Shelter campaign

2013, September 17


The women’s soccer team is focusing on giving back to the community this season. The team is partnering with the Fredericton Homeless Shelter to collect donations and raise awareness of the homelessness issue in the city. “It’s important that we can give some help to those people who are in need,” said head coach Macky Singh. 

The idea came about after Singh met Ella Allen, a part-time professor at STU and the president of Fredericton Homeless Shelters Inc. They were both interested in bringing the two groups together. Singh said he’s wanted his team to get involved for some time, but with a jampacked season there isn’t much time to help. 

When this opportunity arose he thought it was perfect. “We wanted something that we could do that would benefit the community. The players are very excited about it,” Singh said. Debra Swan, executive director at the Fredericton Homeless Shelter, is also thrilled about the program. She believes the pairing is beneficial for everyone. “I’ve been wanting to partner with students from the university in a meaningful way for them and for the shelters,” she said. “As the up-and-coming leaders in our community, students have an opportunity to shape the future.” 

The campaign is seeking donations of sugar and ground coffee, as well as personal health items, such as razors and laundry detergent. The shelter spends a large part of their budget on those items. “It’s easy for someone to go buy a bag of sugar and donate it. If we can collect those items for the shelter, that will allow them to spend their funding on other important things,” said Singh. 

Swan said the program is already making an impact. “We still have to see how many items get collected at the games,” Swan said. “But from the shelter’s perspective the awareness the team has already generated on our behalf is the greatest measure of success.” 

The team is offering one free admission per two games attended if a donation is made at a home game. Donations are also being accepted at the JB O’Keefe Fitness Centre on campus. The players are taking the lead with the campaign and trying to become more engaged with the community. They are planning several fundraisers for the shelter, including spending a night in a cardboard box. 

Elaine Gillis, co-captain of the women’s soccer team, said being involved with the community is something many students and athletes overlook. “The people of Fredericton are allowing us to be here and to play and we appreciate it. We have to give back to show how thankful we are,” she said. Singh and Swan are both looking forward to a long-term relationship between the team and the shelter. 

There are no current plans for the team to get involved in another cause. Singh said he’s concentrating on making the campaign succeed. “We just want to focus on one thing and do it well.”


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