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Student-Athletes Give Back During Holiday Season

Nov. 26, 2013

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Over the past couple weeks, several University of Southern Mississippi sports teams have contributed to Operation Christmas Child (OCC). OCC is an initiative developed by Samaritan's Purse and coordinated locally by First Baptist Church of Hattiesburg. The goal of the program is to collect shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, personal items and other small gifts which are then distributed to children in over 100 countries across the world.

Here at Southern Miss, student-athletes were able to contribute 89 shoeboxes to the cause. Within each team, student-athletes raised funds, shopped for gift items and then packed and prepared the shoeboxes. Alex Coyne, SAAC representative and freshman women's basketball player, was this year's event chair.

"I was impressed with how willing and excited our teams were to help," Coyne stated. "I think it's great for Southern Miss athletics to be associated with such a great cause."

Southern Miss student-athletes have been collecting gifts and packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child for over five years and according to Stacy Breazeale, Director of the Student Academic Enhancement Program, the participation has grown each year.

"It truly is a testament to the quality of student-athletes we have and the interest they take in giving back," Breazeale commented on this year's level of involvement. "I am impressed with their ability to take time out of their busy schedules to help those in need."

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