KU Coaches and Staff Give Back to Community through Salvation Army Joy Shop

Dec. 15, 2010

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Several Kansas coaches and athletics staff members took time out to help the less fortunate Wednesday, when they participated in the Salvation Army’s “Joy Shop”, at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Coaches from track and field, softball, swimming and diving, men’s and women’s golf as well as several associate athletics directors helped people shop for holiday gifts for their families, choosing from a wide array of items donated to the Salvation Army. Each family was able to come away with not only toys for their children, but also winter clothes, stocking stuffers and gift wrap.

A KU coach guided a family or a parent through the store, which was set up at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Clothing, toys and holiday items were available for children as young as infants and old as teenagers.

Volunteers helped parents select items from five different categories for each child in the family. Parents started in the winter clothing section, and chose either a winter outfit, a winter coat or a set of pajamas. Parents were allotted two items for each child in the next section, which consisted of hats, gloves, scarves, socks and undergarments. The next selection was toys, and parents chose one toy for each child from two different toy sections. Parents and volunteers finished their shopping with holiday themed items, ending with stocking stuffers, gift wrap and party bags.

Families also received a certificate for a turkey, ensuring a holiday meal to go along with the gifts.

“I think we’re just so fortunate working at Kansas; it’s such a great place, and this is the time of year we want to give back to other people,” said head softball coach Megan Smith. “It’s really great that we can help them have a wonderful Christmas.”

Smith was working with a mother who is also a student at Johnson County Community College.

“I worked with a great family that has two kids; I helped her pick out some really good gifts for her son and her daughter,” Smith said. “It was a lot of fun. What a great event put on by the Salvation Army. I hope to do this again next year because it’s wonderful.”