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No Rugby? Western Oregon Team Helps Support Food Pantry Instead

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No Rugby? Western Oregon Team Helps Support Food Pantry Instead

WOU players ask fans to help their food pantry.

Western Oregon University's rugby team has made good use of shutdown time, using social media and a nifty video to raise money for their local food bank.

The team has been raising donations for the WOU Food Pantry, helping feed those who are struggling financially.

It's all for a good cause, but also the effort has served to keep the team together and working as a group for a common goal.

The initiative was inspired by the NCR Virtual Rugby season.

"The players really saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate the value the rugby team can bring to the University and local community at a time when they cannot play the sport," said Andy Main, who is WOU's Assistant Director of Campus Recreation.

As it turned out, thr fundraiser didn't come together until it was too late for it to count toward any NCR Virtual Season points, but the team was still very excited to ptoceed, so that's what they did.

"The players have been thrilled to see how viral the video has gone," said Main. "We all got an especially big thrill when the received a shout-out and share from the USA Rugby 7s team, Rhino Rugby USA and NCR.

"The NCR virtual season, and by extension this fundraiser really did help the players stay together as a team this term. We are all very thankful to have had this opportunity. We were also very thankful to have been supported by so any other areas of campus and the Rugby community in Oregon. Our WOUTV team filmed and edited it, our Foundation Department created the giving page and helped locate donors, and the folks at Rugby Oregon and our local Men's Club (Salem Rugby Club) helped spread the word."

The team began their effort by trying to produce a video teaching people about the campus Food Pantry. But as they got into the projects they learned that the Food Pantry is actually stretched very thin, especially during the COVID pandemic.

"We also learned that budget constraints were making it even more difficult for them to operate at the level they had hoped," said Main. "We saw this as a great opportunity to help and the Food Pantry was excited by our idea to do a video."

They were hoping to raise $1,000, but have passed $2,500 and are still moving upward.

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"This fundraiser will really help the Food Pantry continue to address hunger issues in our community, and it's humbling to know that we played a part in making that happen," said Main.

But it has also helped the players as a whole mature and find a way to help something outside of their team.

"This experience has really helped the players realize the positive impact they can have on their community," Main explained. "The team is very proud of what this video has been able to accomplish and I think they see that coming together to support a very important cause can be just as rewarding as winning a big Rugby match. The team definitely looks forward to playing again, but in the meantime, this has been something that they have really been able to rally around."