The Wheeling Jesuit University men’s lacrosse team held their sixth annual Christmas gift drive this past weekend, donating all gifts collected to Catholic Charities in downtown Wheeling.
The team began the gift drive in 2013 and decided to turn it into a yearly tradition for the program. Every year, the gifts are donated to Catholic Charities, a social service center that helps individuals and families in the local counties by providing food assistance, financial assistance, housing and more.
“We take great pride in helping our community, and Catholic Charities was one of the best organizations in the area for us to team up with. They do absolutely amazing work for disadvantaged families in Wheeling, and we are honored to help them each year,” said Landon DelPrince, head men’s lacrosse coach.
Every player on the team participates in the gift drive. Coach DelPrince explained that his players want to do their part in helping to brighten a child’s experience on Christmas morning. They were able to fill two large boxes full of different toys for children of all ages.
In addition to this gift drive, a member of the lacrosse team is also giving back to his community. Connor Buzzelli, a red-shirt junior, is raising money for the children of UPMC Western Psychiatric Clinic and Institute. Buzzelli started this charity in 2014, and it has had much success. He and his family have been able to donate art supplies, stuffed animals, clothes, toiletries, blankets and more. The Buzzelli family have set a goal to raise $3,000 this year. To learn more about “Connor’s Christmas Crusade 2018,” visit his official GoFundMe page.
“We are just so thankful for all of the sacrifices our parents have made for us over the years and for the experiences we get to have as students and employees of Wheeling Jesuit University. Our mission is to spread as much Christmas cheer as possible during the holiday season so families can just enjoy each other’s presence without having to worry about the financial burdens that come with purchasing gifts. I am very proud of my players for helping to bring a smile to those less fortunate than us this year,” DelPrince added.