BOULDER - The University of Colorado women’s basketball team and coaches helped spread holiday cheer to low-income, isolated seniors in Boulder County Saturday.
The undefeated Buffs took a break from preparing for their next game, a showdown at the University of Denver on Tuesday, Dec. 11, to partner up with Boulder County CareConnect in an ongoing effort to give back to the community.
All 14 Buffaloes on the team roster along with three assistant coaches and head coach Linda Lappe joined over 200 local volunteers of all ages to support the Boulder County CareConnect Holiday Fruit Basket Program.
Throughout the day the team interacted with and delivered fruit baskets to residents of a senior housing apartment in hopes of spreading holiday cheer.
Sophomore Lexy Kresl stresses the importance of student athletes giving back to the community.
“I think it’s especially important for student-athletes to give back because we get so much from the community, like support and free education," Kresl said. "The community is a big part of why we came here so it’s great to give back to them.”
Boulder County CareConnect started its annual Holiday Fruit Basket Program in 1987 and works together with Volunteers of America Colorado, Boulder Housing Partners, and Community Food Share’s Eldershare Program to obtain and distribute fruit baskets to over 900 seniors.
Almost one in five Boulder County seniors has trouble getting enough to eat, and almost two in five suffers from isolation and depression, according to the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging. Boulder County is aging faster than Colorado as a whole, so the need for senior services is high.
Head Coach Linda Lappe believes it was beneficial for the players to see a different side of the community
“It’s easy to help kids because we’ve all been kids, but to think about the other end of the life cycle is sometimes very important,” Lappe said. “We enjoyed interacting with the community and thought it was beneficial for our players to understand a different side of the community than what they usually see everyday.”
The annual Holiday Fruit Basket Program has become a holiday tradition in the Boulder area; the women’s basketball team presence this year was meaningful both for the team-members and the recipients, many of who are big Buff fans.
“It was really cool to be able to see and interact with seniors in our community,” said senior Brenna Malcolm-Peck. “Some seniors had worked at CU previously and have gone to our games, and a couple of them still go, so it was nice to be able to make an impact in their life and help them out a little bit.”