Sports teams continue wide range of community service throughout Easton

As the holidays get closer, Lafayette’s sports teams are staying in the giving spirit with their ongoing charitable efforts to benefit the local community. At least 14 different teams are currently working with the student organization Athletes C.A.R.E., or one of its various programs, to create service opportunities for each registered team.

Athletes C.A.R.E. is a nonprofit and a “growing organization of like-minded athletes, who provide unique, athletics-related service opportunities that support residents of communities in need,” according to their official website. The mission of Athletes C.A.R.E. is fulfilled through the use of athletics to make a “lasting impact on the lives of others.”

The organization strives to assist the poor and homeless through a network of college students who use their platform as athletes to enact positive social change in their communities.

For many of the involved athletes, the organization has become both an outlet and a leadership opportunity. These athletes actively work to help facilitate community outreach for teams. Currently, the non-profit has helped to launch multiple community service programs, including P.A.W.S. (Pairing Athletes with Students), where Lafayette students visit the Boys and Girls Club of Easton and play games and engage in activities with the kids. Another branch of the broader organization is Athletes 4 S.E.R.V.I.C.E., where each week a different team signs up to make bagged lunches at the Safe Harbor homeless shelter in downtown Easton.

Other programs started by Athletes C.A.R.E. include crowdfunded campaigns to raise money, canned food donations to 4 Hunger clinics, and H.U.D.D.L.E. events where athletes mentor nearby students in their schools and districts.

These service projects allow athletes to give back to the Easton community and build valuable relationships with the people they are serving. Every week the athletes go beyond the traditional image of a college athlete, and give their time and effort to those less fortunate than themselves.

“I joined Athletes C.A.R.E. because I was always interested in doing community service on/off campus and my good friend was leading the group at the time and suggested that I apply to be a part of the group,” said junior Ashley Ender, a member of the women’s lacrosse team and current organizer of the Athletes 4 S.E.R.V.I.C.E. event. “This is important to me because I am able to be involved in helping others while being a part of a larger athletic group than just my team.”