Back in November, the UCF partnered with Towson Football for an event called Towson Tackles Cancer. A portion of the proceeds from the game were donated to UCF. To continue our partnership with Towson Football, I thought it would be great if some of Towson’s football players came to Hope Lodge to cook dinner for the guests. Who wouldn’t love to see Football players cooking??
After months of coordinating with Towson’s Assistant Athletic Director, eight of Towson’s football players and the Head Coach showed up to Hope Lodge to cook! I was in the kitchen with UCF volunteers Andy and Lauren when I heard “My, there are lots of handsome men here tonight!” It made me laugh ( the comment came from an 84-year-old woman)! I knew that it was time to see if these young men could cook!
These young athletes were the most gracious and courteous football players I had ever met. They asked me what needed to be done and did it without grumbling once. It was funny to see these large men cutting fruit and chopping vegetables for salads. They were even giving each other cooking advice.
As I was setting dinner out, a young woman came up to me and said her grandfather was so excited to see young football players here cooking. He was thrilled and it made his week.
Once all the guests had gotten their food the young men didn’t hesitate to go and sit with the guests and start talking. One of the guests I was talking to said that most of the volunteers that come to cook dinner are women and that she had never seen so many handsome men cooking at once before!
During dinner, I had three or four patients and guests come up and tell me that they were so happy and excited to see these young men here. Some patients even had some photo opts taken with their favorite player. One patient even wanted a group shot with the whole team.
The Towson football players cleaned the entire kitchen before leaving. They wouldn’t even let me help with the dishes (I could get used to that)!
It was truly a wonderful night. As the team was walking out the door, the guests at Hope Lodge actually started clapping as they exited. Before I left, the night director said that we were all welcome back when ever we wanted to come and all the guests had a wonderful time talking with all of us. This is what volunteering is all about, helping people who truly need and deserve it.