Gaels speak on value that charity work brings to team


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The women’s basketball team thinks it’s important to dedicate time off the court to helping out the local community.

Farrell Shine, Staff Writer

Players from the Iona College women’s basketball team volunteered with Meals to Go on March 29. The players helped set up tables and prepared and packaged meals for local families in need.  

“Our group specifically put together the ingredients for macaroni and cheese in small bags to be sent to families in need,” freshman Juana Camilion said. 

The members of the team also wrote cards to be sent to the families who rely on the Meals to Go program.  

“I was able to make some cards for the families,” freshman Aiste Vaitekunaite said. “We colored the front of the cards and wrote positive messages inside of them.”

For international teammates Camilion and Vaitekunaite, this was not their first time participating in volunteer work as athletes at Iona.  

“We have done a bunch of community service before,” Vaitekunaite said. “In the fall, we did community cleaning around the campus [and volunteered at] Kids Club, where we helped kids with homework and then played basketball with them. We also volunteered at a stair-climb event where we cheered people on.”

 Camilion valued the relationships she and her teammates were able to build with the kids at the NY Kids Club.

“Being able to help the kids at Kids Club was really nice,” Camilion said. “We care about them and we always got their backs. It was something different from a regular day and made us really happy.” 

The Gaels value the act of helping those who are less fortunate. They volunteer when they have the time in between their classes, practices and games.  

Camilion understands that she has the ability to give back to those in need.

“I am fortunate that I always have everything that I need, so to be able to give back to people is so important,” Camilion said. “I think everybody should get a chance to help others because it feels really good.” 

Vaitekunaite finds fulfillment in volunteering and helping charities.

“I’m also really happy to help people who are in need,” Vaitekunaite said. “It makes me happy to know that those people were able to get the food they needed.”