Number of Participants: 11
Hours Donated: 6.5
Value of Time Served: $604
Event Type: Poverty & Homelessness
Sport: Girls Basketball
Date: March 22, 2021
Hopkinton High School
Hayden Rowe Street, Hopkinton
All 11 players met up together to cook the meal, and 6 of us went into Worcester to drop it all off and serve it. We met up around 2:30 pm to start prepping, and then we headed into Worcester to serve the meal for 7 pm. We all had a great time helping out and we ended up making a lot more food than we thought so there were lots of leftovers for them to use in the coming days!
“The basketballs have been put away. Time to roll out the meatballs.
After a season of quiet gyms, two kitchens at nearby homes were filled recently with giggles, the chopping of vegetables and clanging pots. The usual attire included masks and team colors, though aprons would have been appropriate.
The Hopkinton girls basketball team was cooking.
The Hillers share a unique bond in two ways – four of the five seniors live on the same street and all 11 players are varsity returnees.
The season ended last month, but the team’s most crucial assist was dished out Thursday.
COVID-19 has taken so much. Crowds, high-fives, the bottoms of faces.
Pre-game bonding rituals, too.
There was also no postseason, but this group still found something to make March memorable.
“We are fortunate to have gotten a basketball season this year,” said Hopkinton senior captain Lulu Murphy. “To have great friends on the team, to have things as simple as food on the table, which is something that not everyone has.”
One of the traditions taken away this winter was the night-before-games spaghetti dinner – the “spagger.”
The Hillers decided to replace the lost team-building custom with a season’s worth of pasta in one night. Ten pounds of ziti and ten pounds of meatballs were just the start.
The Hedstrom and Connell families – who live diagonally across Connelly Hill Road from each other in the southeast part of town – hosted the preparation of a meal the team eventually helped deliver to a homeless shelter in Worcester.
Senior captain Caroline Connell said that while the season, even a shortened one, was a blessing, the team’s final act was memorable.
“We were just grateful that we were able to get on the court. This is something we took for granted,” she said. “We (were) able to come together one last time and give back to the community one last time while simultaneously bonding as a team.”
The Hillers prepared ziti, sauce and salads to go with pre-made meatballs, dinner rolls and brownies, and delivered the food to Hotel Grace, a faith-based emergency shelter in Worcester. Before the pandemic, Hotel Grace operated only on nights where the temperature dipped below 32 degrees, according to Sandy Meindersma, who helps coordinate meals for the shelter.
When COVID-19 first took hold last year, Hotel Grace partnered with Worcester to run three round-the-clock shelters. The shelter returned in the fall for up to 50 people.
“Giving back to the community is something that myself, as well as the team, finds very important,” said senior captain Millie Senseney.