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UK men's basketball team assisting with program to help children in need

By: Tamara Evans Email
By: Tamara Evans Email

The University of Kentucky men's basketball team worked together off the court on Tuesday as they stuffed bags for the Backpack Program, that will be distributed to children in need.

They are familiar faces to many University of Kentucky basketball fans who are getting ready for the upcoming season. But today, it's not what the men's basketball team is doing on the court that they are so focused on. It's what's taking place off the court.

"It's about giving back. We've been given a lot. This is about giving back," says Martin Newton, the Director of Basketball Operations.

Both players and staff for the team are teaming up with God's Pantry Food Bank to stuff bags that will be given to elementary school children to take home on weekends and during school vacations. They are for children in need of food.

"The stories you hear are the kids aren't even eating the food. The family doesn't have enough food so mom, dad, brothers, and sisters are using this bag to feed the whole family for the weekend," says Marc Hill, the Assistant to the Athletics Director.

"That statement really blows my mind because I didn't grow up in one of those families and I was very privileged not to, but some of my friends were and it's nice to get back and give back," says Jon Hood, a guard on the UK men's basketball team.

This has these Wildcats stepping up their game to assist these kids in need.

"Anytime we're able to reach out and touch lives outside of our families or outside of our own teammates, it's a big help to everyone," says Jon Hood.

"It's very important for our kids to understand how to serve, when to serve, and find people to serve. It's part of why we're here," says Marc Hill.

It's an act that is making a difference on kids that the players don't even know, but an act they say is a big win for everyone.

"It's not the season yet but it's something we'll put our heart into," says Jon Hood.

The team and staff members will deliver the bags on Thursday to Picadome, Lansdowne, and Cassidy Elementary Schools, where the team will also spend some time with students.

The women's basketball team recently helped with the Backpack Program and officials say other teams on campus plan to help as well.

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