Swim team dives in to help food pantry [Towson]

Towson Times

The Wiltondale Warriors swim team is relatively new to the local summer league circuit, having just wrapped up their fifth season. But they have a sizable roster – made up of 139 swimmers, 4 to 18 years old. Further, the team is making a mark, inside the pool and out.

Each summer, the Warriors complete at least one community service project as a team. Their Friday morning swim practices are known as "Fun Fridays," made possible by swim mom volunteers Paula Eastham, Keirney Vandiver, Karen Sorenson, Amy Aloi and Erin Dickensheets and many others who jump in and assist as needed.

These practices are typically filled with games for the teammates to just have some fun together, but on July 7 they added a special twist. For the third year in a row, the Warriors held a "Donuts and Donations" food drive to benefit the Assistance Center of Towson Churches. The swimmers and their families were encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to be collected, and the swimmers were treated to donuts after practice. The result was a well-packed SUV full of donations, which Vandiver delivered to the ACTC Food Pantry in Towson.

"The Warrior Team looks at this as such a great opportunity for kids to see that they should try to remember to give back, while also having a good time," says swim parent and committee member Sara Barber. "It shows the children that even if a good deed seems small, it can become a big contribution when you come together and do it as a team."

Barber hopes the Warriors can expand on the service theme in future seasons. "Maybe hold a food drive during a swim meet and 'challenge' the other team to see which team can bring the most [donations]." She would also like to incorporate an additional day of service, perhaps pairing with Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore.

"Our goal of course is to be competitive," continues Barber, "but equally as important is our desire to bring together children and parents who otherwise wouldn't hang out and get to know each other, to improve the swimming skills of the team members, and for the kids to have a fun time and have lasting memories of their summer swim team."

The summer league has a compact season, so it takes a lot of hustling to get everything completed in such a short time. Coaches Devin Kirby, Allison Mingo and Marley Swisher headed up the 2017 Warriors, backed by a dedicated committee including Elise Cloyd, Sara Barber, Beth Tober, Sue Yancisin, Kris Moore and Angela Guevara. Together, they made the experience a little more meaningful for the swimmers—and for our community.

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