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Community, students gather for game

By Nicole Becchina
On September 28, 2010

Saturday was the fifth annual Ottawa University Community Day.

Community Day happens every year during football season.

Fans are encouraged each year to bring any non-perishable food items to the game with them to donate to Hope House.

Kent Kessinger, Ottawa University's head football coach, likes to get his team involved in the community.

"Just being able to reach out to our community, getting our guys into it means a lot," he said. "It's great to be recognized and do something good for the community at the same time."

Junior wide receiver Clarence Anderson said he believes Community Day is a great opportunity to raise food for people who need it.

"I think it's a chance to get our parents involved in the community who might not be from Ottawa," he said.

Anderson participated in a similar food drive in high school and believes this is a great event to carry on to a University.

Anderson and his family donated food items this year and last year.

"I feel like it's been improving each year as we're more aware of it," Anderson said.

Sophomore Lexy Lauzon, a manager for the football team, said Community Day serves a great purpose because it shows the community that the Ottawa Braves are interested in helping people.

"I believe that Community Day affects students in the fact that we as students are helping out the community and stepping outside of our little community that we have on campus," she said. "Also, it shows the people in the community that we are not just self-centered college kids and that we really care about what happens."

Lauzon said donating food is important because without the help of the students the community cannot grow and prosper.

"I believe that this interaction helps the football team prosper and grow not only as a team, but as individual people," she said. "This shows the community that football players can be caring, loving people who want to help others and do not only concern themselves with what happens on the field, but with what also happens in the community."

Community Day is not the only time football players are involved with their community members. Every Thursday around 20 football players go to local elementary schools and read to the children.

"You can see the excitement in the kids' eyes when the guys show up in their uniforms to read," Kessinger said.

Kessinger says they would like to branch out and work with Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds houses for those in need.

"I hope our guys learn a lesson about being servant leaders," he said. "It also shows gratitude of what other people do for you. I hope that's what they get from it."

Kessinger said the amount of food raised for Community Day has increased over the years, from a single box on the first community day to a truckload last year. He hopes that the amount collected will continue to go up in the years ahead.

"You just know you're doing something good for other people, which can be a reward in itself," he said.

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