CORTLAND, N.Y. - The Cortland softball team is no stranger to winning when it comes to performances on the field, but even off the field, the team is tough to beat.
Through online donations, the team raised $2,250 to raise awareness and fight hunger in the Cortland community through last weekend's Cortland CROP Hunger Walk - more than any other group who participated in the charity event. Besides the softball team, Cortland's men's and women's lacrosse teams also chipped in, raising $150.
CROP Hunger Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations or groups to raise funds to end hunger in communities at the local level and around the world, according to the CROP Hunger Walk website. One third of the total funds raised during last weekend's walk will stay in the Cortland area to help local food pantries, while the rest gets distributed to combat hunger at the global level.
Though Cortland softball takes pride in raising the most funds for the hunger walk, head coach Julie Lenhart says what matters most is several groups coming together to make a difference for the surrounding community. "Everybody wins. We're all giving money back to the community," Lenhart said. "It's not about being the highest one."
Giving back is important for the softball team, especially since it goes hand-in-hand with their motto, 'Serve'. "To serve others and to be selfless," Lenhart explained. "So it really did tie in with the fact that we are serving others by giving to others."
"You get a sense of humbleness from doing that, because you get to help out other people," Cortland junior and softball catcher Victoria Brown said. "It's also a way for us to get together as a team and bond over doing something together."
"That's what we're going to work toward this season," added Hannah Thornill, a Cortland junior and catcher with the team.
Besides being a bonding experience, the team believes helping out in the community makes them better competitors on the softball diamond. "I think it helps, because the entire focus is never about the individual, it's always about the team," Lenhart explained. "So this is just another way to show that it's not about me, it's about we. It's about others."
"Everything you do off the field shows in the game," Brown shared.
Click here to learn more about the CROP Hunger Walk.