The Atlantic United 12-U girls’ soccer team is winning on the field this season, and off the field, it’s doing its part to help Sandy victims recover.
The team raised $1,794.74 via coin drop at the Absecon ShopRite, and donated all that money to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Southern Branch in Egg Harbor Township on Monday, Nov. 12.
The fundraiser was originally supposed to go toward team costs, including equipment and coach’s pay, but the team decided it could do more good by raising the money for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
“It’s heartwarming and it makes me proud as a coach and a parent that they would think of other people,” Asteroids Coach Joe Ropiecki said. “It’s the kind of thing you hope for. They were excited, enthusiastic, and it’s amazing they could raise this much money with the support of the community behind them.”
The Asteroids raised $1,694.74 in cash, and a received a check for an additional $100 donation. Team manager John Smith, some of those donating money were victims of the storm themselves.
“It was really amazing,” said Smith, who said this is the first time the Asteroids have raised money for a cause unrelated to the team. “We had one fundraiser (for the team) before Sandy, at the ShopRite in Galloway. The families can pay the balance (of the team’s costs), and we can have another fundraiser next season. We felt it was important to help those with great needs right now.”
“This really touched me,” Executive Director of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Southern Branch Margie Barham said. “Especially when I found out they were going to raise that money for their team to get uniforms, and they decided they’d rather make the donation. The amount they raised is very impressive. Every dollar they raised helps us distribute $10 worth of food.”
She explained that’s because the Food Bank relies on volunteers to help collect and distribute food. On Monday, she gave the team a tour of the facility in Egg Harbor Township.
Ropiecki worked with the Food Bank from 1996-2001, but the facility has expanded greatly since then. Barham described the facility at that time as a “lumber yard,” while the new facility is a massive warehouse with pallets of food, diapers and other supplies for those in need.
On the field, the Asteroids are 8-1, with their season finale coming up on Saturday, Nov. 17. Should they win that game, the Asteroids win their division.
The team is made up mostly of players from Galloway Township. The roster consists of: