By MIKE SMITH
On Jan. 16, members of the Tuckahoe football team traveled to Riverbank State Park in Manhattan for the culmination of a nearly two-month charity project that saw schools from all over Westchester County provide sporting equipment, books and school supplies to inner-city children in conjunction with the NFL.
The Super Kids-Super Shar-ing initiative, which partners local schools with the NFL as well as the New York Jets and Giants organizations, has run in the Super Bowl’s host city for the past 14 years. On Thursday, about 20 participating Westchester schools–including Tuckahoe–took the opportunity to present the fruits of their equipment drives.
Tuckahoe’s football team, with help from the Eastchester Little League and the Tuckahoe Youth Association, was able to donate 1,100 different items to the cause, second only to the yield produced by Somers.
Tuckahoe head coach John D’Arco, Sr. was impressed with the crop of donations.
“We made an announcement at the end of the year football dinner, asking if anyone had anything around the house that they wanted to donate,” D’Arco said “I know everyone is kind of wrapped up with their own stuff around Christmastime, so we expected most of the donations to come in afterwards, which is exactly what happened.”
Of the 1,100 items collected by Tuckahoe players, nearly half was sports equipment–both new and used–while the rest consisted of school supplies that will be distributed among inner city youth.
Several members from the Jets and Giants took part in the event and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino was on hand to congratulate the area schools for their fundraising efforts.
Tuckahoe’s involvement in the Super Kids-Super Sharing program has not been its only community outreach over the last few years. The Tigers have also been involved in raising money for pancreatic cancer research over the past five years.
Additionally, a number of Tuckahoe football players recently took the time to head over to the William E.Cottle School and read short stories to kindergartners. The theme of the stories was the importance of sharing and helping others, something that went hand-in-hand with the day’s lesson plan.
“We encourage the kids to give back and be active in the community,” D’Arco said. “We want these kids to understand that they are role models, especially to the younger kids in the community. It’s also a great way to build team bonding.”