By John Boccacino/Sports Information Director
The members of the Keuka College women's basketball team raised $600 to help needy children around the world receive shoes through the team's inaugural Samaritan's Feet basketball game.
Partnering with the national Samaritan's Feet program, first-year head coach Sarah Gaffney coached barefooted during Keuka's 62-50 win over the College of St. Elizabeth (N.J.) on Feb. 14.
Gaffney was on the sidelines without shoes as her and the Keuka student-athletes raised both money and awareness for the cause of providing proper footwear to children living in impoverished countries around the world.
Additionally, there was a 50/50 raffle and a Valentine's Day raffle with prizes from local businesses. Concessions were also sold in the lobby and there was a silent auction, with all proceeds going to Samaritan's Feet (www.samaritansfeet.org).
Across the country, for every $1,000 donated to Samaritans Feet, 100 brand-new shoes are donated to children in these developing and low-income countries.
"The goal of Samaritan's Feet is to put shoes on the feet of 10 million orphans across the world. As of 2003, the charity has been able to help six million children," Gaffney said.
"I thought Keuka College's women's basketball team could do their tiny part to raise awareness and money. Better yet, it could be a humbling experience that allows our student-athletes a chance to reflect on how truly blessed they are. Too often, student-athletes take what they have for granted."
The chance to give back to those less fortunate really resonated with junior Mackenzie Cole (Ogdensburg, N.Y./Ogdensburg Free Academy).
"While we are student-athletes on the basketball team, we're about more than just playing basketball and going to class. We want people in the community to know that we're here to make this a better place," Cole said.
"We wanted to get as much support for this event as possible. We were trying to raise money and awareness for this great cause, and we all just wanted to give back to those less fortunate. We take it for granted we're going to have shoes on our feet, yet in some parts of the world, children can get diseases or even die from not having sneakers. This is a great cause for us to join."
TOMS Shoes, a company that donates a pair of new shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased, is represented on campus through the College's TOMS Shoe Club.
Each spring, Keuka's TOMS club, led by the club's members and Keuka College chaplain Rev. Eric Detar, holds a Day Without Shoes event on campus to raise awareness about the need to provide shoes to needy children.
Keuka's TOMS club also assisted with the Samaritan Feet effort.