Jan. 28, 2020
“The sacrifice we make is nothing in comparison to what the soldiers make and that is why we make time to pause our agendas and give back to these heroes,” said Megan Calendar, an athlete on Biola women's cross country team.
Biola women’s cross country team, one of the top teams in the nation, dedicates time off the track to send boxes with food, clothes, games, and handwritten letters to soldiers serving overseas in partnership with Soldier Boodle Box.
Soldier Boodle Box was initiated by the West Point Parents Club, an organization for relatives of soldiers, according to Kristina Ross, a current member of the organization and an assistant cross country coach for Biola. Some of the women’s cross country athletes had connections with the military which spurred them to help, said Ross.
The cross country team collects supplies and sets up tables at their track meets to reach out to parents, classmates, and other athletes to write letters and fill boxes for the soldiers. The team manages both balancing their training and school work along with promoting the Boodle Box Program.
“Doing a project like this is not easy to fit with our training schedules,” said Calendar. “By picking one project, we can direct our time and attention to it with more intention and give our best effort.”
Hannah Jossi, a Biola cross country athlete, finds empathizing with the soldiers motivates her to take on the additional responsibility. Jossi helps set up booths at events to collect letters and boxes.
“While I can’t understand exactly what it would be like to be fighting and serving the country, I know at times I need encouragement to keep going and fight through the hard days of cross country,” said Jossi. “I think about what it would be like if I were them, and received a note of encouragement from someone who cared for me. The words, even simple words, would brighten my day. This makes me want to write as many letters as possible.”
Ross joined WPPC-OC when her son started attending West Point. Ross gathered emails and handwritten letters sent from soldiers, thanking the contributors for the boxes.
“And for all those who sent magazines, food, and holiday wishes, know that you all have brought a piece of home to our small COP during the holiday season. Thank you again for your support,” states the soldiers’ letter.
The women's cross country team plans to continue participating in the program in future years.
Written by Daniel Batchman, iBiola reporter. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, media relations specialist, at 562.777.4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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