Bearcat Football Players are Ready to help United Way with Days of Caring

SALEM, OR - The Willamette University football team will provide plenty of man-hours on Saturday, Aug. 19, when more than 100 Bearcats will participate in the Days of Caring, sponsored by the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley. The Bearcats and other groups will help with cleaning, updating and enhancing the buildings and surrounding landscapes used by area charities.

Head Coach Mark Speckman and the Willamette football team are ready to field approximately 10 teams of 10 players each. Willamette's players will be volunteering their efforts from about 8:30 a.m. until 12 p.m.

"We have a lot of new players on campus and it's (the Days of Caring) a good chance for them to spend some time with the returning players in a situation away from football," Speckman said. "There will be a lot of camaraderie going on out there this weekend."

Five teams of Bearcats will work at McKay High School (2440 Lancaster Dr. NE), where they will clean the school grounds, power-wash parts of the building and contribute light maintenance work. Another three teams will be at Pioneer Cemetery Park (corner of Commercial St. S. and Hoyt St.) to provide a general cleaning. One team is slated to contribute at the Salvation Army (1887 Front St. NE) by weeding and cleaning the garden area and by power-washing around the building. One team will go to the Boys and Girls Club at Shelton Village Apartments (2540 Lee St. SE) to help paint various rooms.

"There's certainly a lot of need out there ... and we have the ability to help," Speckman continued. "It's a good time for us to get out there and do something."

It will be the third consecutive year that the Bearcats have participated in the Days of Caring. Most volunteer groups will participate in this year's Days of Caring on Sept. 22-23, but Willamette's football team will be into its season by then, so the Bearcats are kicking off the event this weekend. The various projects will form a key part of the football team's community service efforts this season.

"The school motto (at Willamette University) is 'not unto ourselves alone are we born'," Speckman said. "It's good to give everybody an opportunity to live up to that."