LOWELL, Mass. – Several members of the UMass Lowell men’s basketball team recently volunteered at The Wish Project, a local non-profit goods bank, to help support the victims of the tragic Branch Street fire that took place in Lowell on July 10.
“I was deeply saddened when I received the news about the Lowell fire,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “When a tragedy such as that fire happens in our community, it really puts life in perspective. While we are extremely passionate about athletics here at UMass Lowell, when something like this strikes so close to home, everything else must come to a halt. A vital part of a student-athlete’s experience as a River Hawk is community service and we will continue to instill these principles into our young men.”
A group of nine from the River Hawk men’s basketball program spent the day packing and moving supplies that The Wish Project will be distributing to over 50 residents who were displaced by the July fire.
“It was a great experience,” said incoming freshman Josh Gantz. “I was happy that we could offer some help in the community that has embraced us to play for them.”
The team was responsible for locating the proper materials in the large warehouse before getting them ready to send out to the families in need. In doing so, the River Hawks competed to see who could complete their package faster. The student-athletes also had the opportunity to meet and speak with some members of the community.
UMass Lowell returns to action in 2014-15 under the direction of Duquette in his second season. The River Hawk roster features six veterans from last year’s team that finished 10-18 overall and 8-8 in its first season as a member of the America East Conference. Coach Duquette also welcomes seven newcomers to round out his squad.
About The Wish Project: The original Wish Project was a written four-pronged plan for how to provide all manner of goods (other than food) to all the needy all year long. Need was organized by urgency from crisis same day needs to seasonal needs like blankets. Those needs would be met by: wishes, seasonal projects, the Emergency Support Program and a for profit venture to fund the other three. Our mission is to provide our local people in need with basic furniture, home and baby goods while we help the planet by recycling used goods. Only when people have their basic needs met can they move forward and out of the social services system. By providing basic goods to people in crisis, we help end needless suffering in the short term while helping to end homelessness in the long term. People living in poverty are always in crisis-mode.