The Kansas State football equipment truck rolled out of the parking lot headed for Texas on Sunday night. With four teams from Texas on the season’s schedule, this isn’t an unusual event during football season, but this time the cargo was a little different.
K-State Athletics collected items to donate to the United Way in Baytown, Texas. Baytown is the Houston metropolitan area, one of the regions in Texas that was hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey.
The donated items included cleaning supplies, children’s clothing, backpacks, school supplies, food and water. The donations were collected outside of the Intercollegiate Rowing Facility prior to the football home opener against the University of Central Arkansas on Saturday, and again on Sunday.
Meandering their way through piles of supplies and clothing were K-State athletes from every sport except soccer, as the team was traveling to an away game in Iowa.
“We had over 80 athletes from every sport sign up to help,” Marissa Edwards, academic counselor for track and rowing, said.
The volunteers sorted donations, loaded them into boxes and then carried those boxes into the football equipment truck.
“We went to Nicaragua this summer and got a taste for helping people,” junior Rhizlane Siba, track and field athlete and junior in social sciences, said.
Fifteen student athletes traveled to Nicaragua this summer on a service trip for the Courts for Kids organization. They built a multipurpose athletic court for a rural community near the city of Granada.
“It is an opportunity to show that athletes care about their communities,” Siba said, adding that K-State Athletics is very active in the Houston area.
“I am amazed,” Cathy Wauagh, Manhattan resident and K-State alumna, said of the effort. “I was here at 1:30, and then I noticed that people were bringing buckets, and I went home to get some.”
Wauagh said she liked that this was an easy way for people to help out and provide things that they know are needed.
“We are not just sending them junk that they can’t use,” Wauagh said.
Edwards said that Kenny Lannou, senior associate athletics director for communications and public relations, helped spearhead the relief effort. Head football coach Bill Snyder announced the relief effort in his weekly press conference on Aug. 29.
K-State held a similar donation drive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“We talk all the time at K-State about family,” Wauagh said. “This shows it.”