Team brings gifts to kids in need

Members of the Thompson High School soccer team, Soccer Booster Club and employees with Vineyard Family Services and Creek View Elementary School display the stockings and food donations the soccer team collected for kids in need at CVES. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Several children in need at Creek View Elementary School will have toys on Christmas morning they otherwise might not have gotten after the Thompson High School soccer team banded together to help them.

The THS soccer team worked with the North Shelby-based Vineyard Family Services to help several children at the school who are on the free and reduced lunch program at CVES. Through the partnership, the soccer team members purchased and stuffed stockings for the kids and delivered the stockings to the school on Dec. 16. The soccer players also held a food drive over the past several weeks to collect donations for Vineyard Family Services’ Backpack Buddies program.

The Backpack Buddies program works to provide nutritious snacks and meals for the meals the children on the free and reduced lunch program do not receive at school, such as dinners and weekend meals.

“While we all see it as a long holiday, these children still have those same needs,” said Vineyard Family Services Program Director Stephanie Grissom. “One of the children put on their wish list that they wanted a Christmas dinner.”

The soccer team’s drive generated enough food to feed each CVES child in need for four days over the Christmas break, Grissom said.

This year marked the second straight year the THS soccer team and Soccer Booster Club teamed up with Vineyard Family Services to provide Christmas for Alabaster kids in need.

CVES Assistant Principal Mandy Wesson said without the soccer team’s donation of stockings filled with candy and toys, some children at CVES wouldn’t have any presents on Christmas morning.

“We are so appreciative of the soccer team and of the Backpack Buddies program,” Wesson said.

THS soccer player Alyssa Mayer said she and her teammates enjoyed knowing their hard work would bring joy to children in their own city.

“It was nice to do something to make an impact in our community,” Mayer said. “I hope we do it every year.”