Buckeye Local gives back

YORKVILLE – There is certainly more to high school athletics than just winning and losing.

First-year Buckeye Local boys basketball coach Greg Haberfield has been stressing that to his team since taking over in the spring.

Actually, it’s been an on-going process all summer and it’s been much more than hearing him talking about it for the Panthers’ hoop players.

Several times this summer, including last Friday, Buckeye Local’s boys basketball team has been taking part in several service projects, giving back to the community in multiple ways.

“Anything we can do to give back to the community, we’re all for it,” Haberfield said. ” Our student-athletes realize (giving back) is much bigger than the game of basketball, and I hope these experiences help these kids become life-long advocates for community involvement.”

Haberfield and four of his athletes were at the Yorkville Volunteer Fire Department helping with a monthly Produce Distribution Market, which is hosted by the Yorkville United Methodist Church’s food pantry, for the less fortunate.

“We’ve been going to the individual churches and helping out when we can, but this is one of the bigger programs we’re doing,” Haberfield said. “The kids actually have enjoyed this and they’re excited to come out and help give back. It really does mean something to them to be able to do their part for needy families and show support for the people who support them throughout the season.”

According to Haberfield, the four players helping was actually slightly down compared to some of the other events. Some of the Panthers’ players were either at football workouts, playing AAU basketball or even working.

“The kids have always found a way to participate when they can,” Haberfield said. “We always find a way. The kids deserve credit because they do try to be here when they’re able. We’ve not had guys just skipping out on it because they don’t want to come.”

Haberfield plans on doing even more with the community in future years.

“We’re continuously looking for ways to become involved,” Haberfield said. “I am always open for anything or any way we can help out. This is just a great opportunity for the kids.”

On top of helping the community and giving back, it also serves as team building for the Panthers.

“The more we can be around one another outside of a basketball setting, the closer our athletes become, which can only help us on the court this winter,” Haberfield said. “

According to Craig Closser, who was speaking on behalf of the Methodist Church, more than 250 families benefitted from the produce drive held on Friday.

“We started doing the produce last year, but we’ve doing this through our church’s general fund for several years,” Closser said. “This is an extension of that and it allowed us to get into this produce program, but (the state) told us we’d have to cover a big area. There’s no cost to us for any of this.”

Residents of Yorkville, Tiltonsville, Rayland, Deep Run, Upland Heights, Glen Robbins, Connorville and Rush Run were all welcomed at the pantry. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services determine eligibility.

Along with the Yorkville United Methodist Church and Buckeye Local athletes, other groups who help are: Tiltonsville and Rayland United Methodist Churches, St. Vincent’s Helping Hands Food Pantry an outreach of St. Lucy’s & St. Joseph’s Catholic Churches, Rush Run Community Chapel, Yorkville Vol. Fire Dept., Y-T-R United Methodist Men, Warren Township Lions Club, V.F.W. Post 4811 of Yorkville and Boy Scout Troop # 460.

“We get a lot of support from all of the groups,” Closser said.

Closser had hoped the program would have started in May, but it didn’t clearance through the state of Ohio until recently and Friday served as the first market. Future dates are: Aug. 10, Sept. 27, Oct. 18 and Nov. 2.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com