The Harding Baseball Team hit a figurative home run during the off season to clothe children in Houston who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“We are always looking for ways the team can serve,” Head Coach Patrick McGaha said. “Anytime we have the chance to serve, we are going to see if we can help.”
McGaha had several of the players’ parents email and ask if there was anything the team could do to help with Houston’s floods. McGaha knew a visit to Houston was not financially pragmatic or realistic for the team, because of their mission trip to Nicaragua in December. However, the team knew it would be possible to help in another way.
McGaha heard about an opportunity to help the victims of Harvey at the first home football game when Sam Jeffrey, director of the criminal justice program, announced a chance to help out with the Fort Bend County School District in Houston. McGaha saw a need to rally his team together for a cause bigger than themselves: a need to clothe children and help a community.
The team was able to collect $800 for the Fort Bend School District, located 40 miles outside of Houston. With this money, the team was able to supply uniforms and other school necessities for 35 to 40 students. Harding received donations and feedback from all over the country, and the donations will be delivered to the school district the weekend of Sept 15.
“I cannot say enough about the kindness and selflessness of the Harding baseball team and Coach McGaha specifically,” Jeffreys said. “In a time where a lot of people talk, they showed themselves to be men of action. They showed themselves to be leaders.”
Through this act of kindness the baseball team was able to help the school district and realize the blessings the team shared by Harding.
“We have been given so much here,” senior Jack Thomas said. “Look around. Think about how fortunate we are to receive a scholarship to come do something as fun as play a sport. It’s our job as receivers to then go and give back. People see our guys and see them as baseball players. I wish people could see Grant Guest sharing his testimony with a 10 year old baseball team, I wish they could see Matt Hendry helping third-graders with their homework. I wish they could see Jesse Cox helping special needs children play baseball. There is so much good inside these guys.”
Coach McGaha saw the efforts of the team as a life lesson and a humbling experience for all.
“We are really, really blessed,” McGaha said. “Sometimes we have to be careful and not feel entitled because we are very fortunate with our facilities on campus. We are just trying to be servants when and where we can be. We want to coach life lessons beyond the field.”
The team was able to see outside of their upcoming season and realize the importance of their presence.
“We are working really hard to establish a culture of serving and giving,” Thomas said. “Our culture is about developing people, not just players. We are just trying to instill a habit of being open to the needs around us.”