Sacramento Republic kicked up its holiday charity drive this week.
Coach Mark Briggs and defender Duke LaCroix went on a $2,500 shopping spree Wednesday at Macy’s in Arden Fair mall to benefit the team’s Winter Wishlist charity. The charity benefits students in Sacramento’s Robla School District.
Briggs and LaCroix picked out games, toys, jackets and coats Wednesday thanks to a credit donation from Macy’s.
“We went a bit wild,” Briggs said. “We bought all sorts of things. It’s nice to be able to pick things out for children and families in need.”
Fans can get into the giving spirit as well, and earn tickets to a game in the process. The team is hosting a donation drop-off Thursday at Cal Expo’s main gate between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Players, coaches and employees will be on hand to thank fans for dropping by and all donors will receive a voucher for two tickets to a future match. The team will accept unwrapped toys for kids 5 to 12 years old, new coats and jackets with tags for children sizes XS to XL or 5-14.
This is the second year the team has run the Winter Wishlist charity. Kevin Burdick, the team’s director of community investment, said the team was inspired to start the program after seeing a CNN story last year about the Robla school superintendent going door to door to check on why kids weren’t showing up to online classes, only to find families had moved or there were situations of need that kept the kids from going to class.
“The story about Robla struck a chord,” Burdick said. “When you see a superintendent like that, it just really hit home.”
And the effort is appreciated, Briggs said. A woman emailed a thank-you video clip to the team after receiving her gifts from Briggs last year, he said, saying she didn’t realize the coach of the team would be handing her a gift.
“It’s an amazing thing to be a part of,” Briggs said. “This time of year is a time we all by things for our kids and our families and we take for granted how much we have. Even to simply give a coat or a pair of shoes, if we can, it’s powerful.”
After the donation drive is complete, team partners Paratransit, AARP California and the Sacramento Food Bank will wrap and deliver gifts to families. Each family will also get a holiday meal thanks to a donation from Raley’s. Last year family’s got a turkey dinner with all the fixings and side dishes.