Thanks to the efforts of student-athletes from all 17 Sam Houston State sports teams plus the athletic training staff, more than 60 under-privileged children at Sam Houston Elementary School will have school supplies for the coming year.

In addition, the athletic training staff completed a drive to collect food for the Good Shepherd Mission in Huntsville.

Athletic Trainers Food Drive
Athletic trainers food donation
for Good Shepherd Mission

The projects are part of the Southland Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's eighth annual "Christmas in the Southland" program in which each of the league's university SAAC groups organize an activity benefiting their local community.

Sam Houston SAAC committee members heading the 2014 Bearkat "Christmas in the Southland" drive were Darion Flowers (football), Jasmin Anderson (women’s basketball), Paul Baxter (men’s basketball) and Jordan Jarzombek (soccer).

“The athletes are such great role models for our children,” Huntsville Elementary School Susan Cryer said. “We really appreciate how the Sam Houston State University athletic department reaches out to the community.”

SHSU SAAC members met with teachers at the school to find needs to fill for the children.

“This is an instant impact project for those children who need the help and we are glad we get to do this for them,” SHSU Assistant Athletic Director Chris Thompson said. “We received a list of supplies that are needed to replenish classrooms for those children who do not have the resources to make it through the year.”

The supplies donated to the school included Kleenex, No. 2 pencils, hand sanitizer, glue sticks, crayons, scissors and bradded folders.

The supplies were delivered to Cryer, assistant principal Courtney Lucas and counselor Judy Phillips at Huntsville Elementary on Thursday, December 4.

“This is a perfect time for the kids,” Phillips said. “We’re running short of so many of these supplies. It’s really exciting for the school to receive a Christmas present like this.”

The Sam Houston SAAC assists Huntsville Elementary throughout the year with its “Backpack Buddies” program. Bearkat student-athletes pick up packages from the Houston Food Bank and delivers them to the school to distribute to students in need.

“It’s such a thrill to see actually meet the young kids when they receive the food,” Anderson said. “It’s very rewarding. It’s great to know that we’re helping kids out.”

Meeting with the Sam Houston student-athletes is a special experience for the elementary school children.