Wildcat fans are invited to share in the spirit of giving during the holiday season by donating toys at the Cassville High School boys basketball team's season opener on Dec. 2. Fans who donate a toy will be admitted to the games at no cost.
"The main goal of this toy drive is to help local families who may not have the means to get their children Christmas presents this year, and bring the Cassville community and student-athletes together for a good cause," said Danny Powers, CHS boys basketball coach. "Whether our players realize it or not, they are role models for the younger kids in Cassville. This is a great opportunity to show our players that they can use their status as a Cassville athlete to really make a difference in their community."
The boys basketball team will partner with Cassville First Baptist Church and local business leaders to collect toys that will be distributed by OACAC to local families in need.
"First Baptist Church runs an excellent Upward Basketball program that has approximately 150 youth athletes," said Powers. "Jeff Allee, FBC Family Life Center director, will help get the word out about the toy drive and encourage kids and families to bring a toy to help the cause."
Allee and other FBC volunteers will also assist the basketball team by working the gates to collect toy donations.
"Fastrip and Commerce Bank have agreed to sponsor the event and show their support by donating T-shirts to be awarded to the first 200 people that show up for our junior varsity basketball game beginning at 6 p.m.," said Powers. "T-shirt recipients will be encouraged to wear their shirts during the game."
Community members are invited to donate wrapped or unwrapped toys for children ranging in age from infant through 14 years old. Boys basketball players will wrap any unwrapped toys that are donated on Saturday morning.
"When I was playing baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization, we made a lot of player appearances at children's hospitals and hosted several free camps and clinics for children that may have otherwise not had the opportunity to participate," said Powers. "It was very rewarding to see the positive impact we could have on kids. I had such a great experience working with many of these kids that I wanted our Cassville athletes to have that same experience.
"Anytime you get an opportunity to do something good for someone who really needs it, you feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment," said Powers. "Our kids are really looking forward to using basketball to make a difference in the community. Hopefully, we can continue working with area businesses and organizations like OACAC to make the lives of our community members better."
The Cassville Wildcats will open their season against non-conference foe Galena, Kan., on Friday, Dec. 2. The junior varsity game will begin at 6 p.m. A varsity game will follow the junior varsity contest.
OACAC benefits families in Barry and surrounding counties. Families in need of assistance are invited to call 417-862-4314 or visit www.oacac-caa.org.