Track and Field Student-Athletes Make the Most of the Holiday Break

Jan. 14, 2011


Members of the Kansas track and field team have spent the past three nights serving meals and building relationships with the local homeless population at the Lawrence Community Shelter.

Junior distance runner Rebeka Stowe first approached the team with the idea before the holiday break. The thought was to make the most of their free time when the team returned to Lawrence in early January for training and competition. There was an overwhelming response by the team. In fact so many student-athletes wanted to participate that they were split into three groups and went on separate nights.

“Everyone who participated came away with their own experience and this helped us realize what we take for granted and put our lives into perspective. Giving back to the community is something we, as athletes, love to do but don’t always have enough time for. The people at LCS were so thankful for our help and it was great to hear their stories and to gain an understanding of what the homeless experience is like in Lawrence,” said Stowe.

After the impactful experience, track and field student-athletes began to recruit volunteers from other teams. Jimmy Waters, senior baseball player said, “The shelter is a humbling experience. It makes you become more thankful for the simple things you have like food, shelter and heat. It takes a unique and special person to be committed to helping on a daily basis at the shelter. I’m glad I was able to help out those people last night.”

Kansas Athletics donated a meal of pizza and brownies on Thursday night when it learned that the shelter did not have a meal planned for that evening. The volunteer staff at LCS was making tuna sandwiches when the pizza arrived and everyone was pleasantly surprised to see the generous donation.

“The people at LCS really enjoyed it and asked us to come back. (Rebeka) Stowe and I got know a couple of them. It was a good experience and everyone really like the pizza tonight,” said Kaman Schneider, a Jayhawk sophomore distance runner.

The mission of the Lawrence Community Shelter is to provide safe shelter and comprehensive services and programs that provide a path to a positive future for people experiencing homelessness and are at risk for homelessness. The Lawrence Community Shelter is the only emergency homeless shelter serving Lawrence and Douglas County in Kansas.