The Illini will hold and food and fund drive for the victims of the Harrisburg tornado at Illinois Field on Wednesday, March 14.
March 10, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois baseball team will hold a food and fund drive on Wednesday, March 14, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. with all proceeds going to victims of the recent tornado that hit Harrisburg, Ill. The Illini are partnering with WCIA-3 TV and the United Way to benefit the people of Harrisburg, and the Champaign Dream baseball organization also has stepped forward to collect food and money toward the cause. The Fighting Illini Dugout Club and This Is It Furniture also are contributing funds and labor to deliver the donations.
Canned or dried food items and monetary donations can be dropped off at the Illinois Field clubhouse, located on Kirby Avenue approximately one block east of Fourth Street, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. For convenience purposes for UI students, items also will be collected at the Irwin Academic Center at the corner of Fourth Street and Armory Avenue in Champaign from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. While all donations will be accepted, a list of high-need items is below.
The natural disaster in Harrisburg hit close to home for the Illini because Reid Roper, a redshirt-freshman infielder and pitcher, is a Harrisburg native. Head coach Dan Hartleb also is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and former graduate assistant baseball coach at SIU in 1988-89, and has a number of friends in the area.
"I was stunned to hear of the destruction in Harrisburg while I was watching the morning news on Feb. 29," Hartleb said. "The first instinct I had was to call Reid's family and I was relieved when they answered the phone and said that everyone in his immediate family was safe and their homes weren't affected by the disaster. From that point forward, we felt like it would be important for our baseball team and athletic department to organize an effort to take care of a member of our Illini family. In a few short days, we have had great support throughout the planning process from WCIA, other media outlets, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, the Dugout Club, the United Way, and This Is It Furniture owner and Champaign Dream baseball head coach Mike Namoff.
"We are looking forward to having a very active day on Wednesday as we will work to collect non-perishable food items and financial donations to help the many victims in Harrisburg. Reid is a special individual and an important part of our program and we know that his hometown and roots are extremely important to him. This is a small way to give back to the people who make our Illinois programs so special. We hope that many throughout the community will be able to help with the efforts to help the people Harrisburg get back to normal living conditions as soon as possible."
WCIA will provide coverage of the event throughout the day, starting with Rob Collins, Cynthia Schweigert, Jillian Deam and Robert Reese broadcasting the Morning Show live from Illinois Field from 6-9 a.m. A live weather forecast will be given from Illinois Field during the noon newscast and Andrew Wilder and Heather Roberts will do the new show "ciLiving" live from 4-5 p.m. Anchor Jennifer Roscoe and members of the evening news team will wrap up the day, appearing live during the 5 and 6 o'clock newscasts.
Supplies and funds that are collected will be delivered to the Harrisburg Disaster Relief Fund on Saturday, March 17, at approximately 5 p.m. The Illini will present the items to Harrisburg community leaders after playing Northern Illinois in Carbondale at 11 a.m., presenting the goods at a drop area before viewing the disaster area. The donated items will be transported in a truck donated by This Is It Furniture, which is owned by Fighting Illini Dugout Club member Mike Namoff.
Items Needed in Harrisburg
Macaroni and cheese
Spaghetti & spaghetti sauce
5 lb bags of sugar
Gift cards to Walmart and Rural King