Student athletes volunteer to take food from field to table

Student athletes volunteer to take food from field to table

October 9, 2013


By Communications Staff

It’s not their usual field of play, but the Queen’s football team will be working up a sweat this fall picking vegetables for Martha’s Table, a local not-for-profit organization that feeds about 150 people in need every day.

About 90 athletes will be spending an afternoon at a farm in the city’s west end harvesting potatoes, beans and cabbages, among other veggies. The farm is one of two plots of land that form the Robinson and Abrams Community Initiative and all of the food grown goes to local charities.

Student athletes Shannon Walsh (left) and Aaron Gazendam (right) are the co-presidents of Queen's Varsity Leadership Council.

“We were involved with Martha’s Table last year when every Queen’s varsity team signed up to make a food basket for individuals and families at Christmas time,” says Aaron Gazendam, a football midfielder, fourth-year kinesiology student and co-president of the Varsity Leadership Council. “This year we also wanted to do a front-end thing with the same organization.”

The Council is made up of representatives of every sports team. One of its major goals is to build relations with the Queen’s and Kingston communities through volunteer opportunities and outreach programs.

In addition to contributing to Martha’s Table, student-athletes will be visiting elementary schools all year to promote physical activity and sport values through leadership games and discussions about their experiences as varsity athletes.

“The school visits allows athletes to connect with youth at a personal level, and become role models with respect to leadership, teamwork and healthy active living,” says Council co-president Shannon Walsh, a volleyball player who is a teacher-candidate in the Faculty of Education. “It is overall a very positive experience for both Queen's student-athletes, and Kingston youth.”

Gazendam says the Council wants to expand the role it can play in the community.

“Our impact can be huge. We are such a big and available resource with all 1,000 athletes.”

That’s a lot of potatoes.