Wheeling Jesuit Lacrosse Team Helping Others this Christmas Season

  WJU Communications
  Thursday, December 7, 2017 11:38 AM
  Service, WJU News

Wheeling, WV

Members of Wheeling Jesuit’s men’s lacrosse team are helping make the Christmas season brighter for children in Wheeling and Pittsburgh.

wju-lax-photo-1-web.jpgFor the fifth straight year, the team as a whole purchased toys for children that will be distributed through Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center, while team member Connor Buzzelli is raising funds to purchase gifts for patients at Western Psychiatric Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Photo caption: WJU’s Men’s Lacrosse coach Landon DelPrince and Luke Gilman are shown with Beth Collins, northern regional director of Catholic Charities, WV. Members of the lacrosse team purchased nearly 75 toys that were given to Catholic Charities to be distributed to people in the area this Christmas. This is the fifth year WJU’s lacrosse team has participated in this service project. 

According to Head Coach Landon DelPrince team members purchased nearly 75 gifts that will be distributed to local children. The team members use their own money to buy the gifts, with many purchasing two or three gifts each.

“I've been really happy about our team's involvement with this holiday gift drive, but in no way am I surprised by it. Living a life of service to others has been our focus for the past five years. We are grateful for all the opportunities we've been given in life and want to start paying it forward to help those in need. I'm really proud of our guys' commitment to the Jesuit mission,” DelPrince said.

“Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center is extremely thankful for this partnership with WJU’s lacrosse team. The team members put so much thought into each gift they pick out for our Christmas Shop. The shop provides a no-cost shopping experience for families with children who need extra help providing gifts throughout the holiday season. The Christmas Shop is in addition to our annual Christmas Angel Tree and food basket giveaway. All together, we are blessed to serve nearly 500 families a year with these services, and we couldn’t do it without partnerships like this one,” said Beth Collins, northern regional director for Catholic Charities, WV. 

DelPrince added that the service project is a very humbling experience for the players.

“We realized how fortunate we are to wake up Christmas morning with presents underneath the tree, but not everyone is as lucky as we are. We have a great group of young men on this team, and it shows by the work they've done to support the Wheeling community. They embody what it truly means to be ‘Men for Others.’”

wju-lax-photo-2-web.jpgIn addition to helping the local community, DelPrince has one player who does a Christmas service project for a program close to his heart.

Photo Caption: Wheeling Jesuit lacrosse player Connor Buzzelli is shown with a number of Christmas he purchased for patients at Western Psychiatric Hospital in Pittsburgh. This is the third year for ‘Connor’s Christmas Crusade.’

Buzzelli started ‘Connor’s Christmas Crusade’ in 2014 and since that time, the annual ‘crusade’ to collect gifts for children at the hospital has grown each year. This year, Buzzelli expanded his reach and for the first time, asked students and employees at the university to donate.

His efforts have allowed him to collected more than $1,800 in a two-week period through a GoFundMe account. All of the money collected will be used to purchase items for patients at Western Psychiatric.

“The first year, my mother and I took two bags of items and dropped them off at the hospital,” he explained. “I love this time of year and want to help those less fortunate,” Buzzelli said.

The senior lacrosse player believes in the true meaning of Christmas -- “giving to others, that’s what I like most about Christmas.”





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