Basketball Team rolls up sleeves to serve those in need

Program has also donated more than 6,000 canned goods to local churches & food pantries

Basketball team spends time with children
Members of the Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team spend time Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2016, with children at Curt’s Kitchen, a ministry of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church in Baytown that provides a free weekly dinner to people in need. The team volunteered to assist with serving the meal and also donated 600 canned goods to the ministry as part of ongoing efforts to give back to the community.

BAYTOWN, TX — Members of the Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team recently tied on aprons and pulled on plastic gloves to help Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church serve barbecue sandwiches with all the trimmings to people in need in the Baytown community.

The student-athletes also gave 600 canned goods to Curt’s Kitchen, the church ministry that feeds the hungry every Wednesday at the Coat of Many Colors in Baytown. The Runnin’ Rebels have donated 3,000 canned goods to numerous churches and local food pantries since the summer began, and more than 6,000 canned goods since the start of the 2015-16 basketball season.

“It’s important for our guys to be a part of the Baytown community,” said Head Coach Roy Champagne, who joined his players on the serving line at Curt’s Kitchen and invited the diners to attend an upcoming basketball game on campus for free. The 2016-17 basketball season begins in November.

“The Baytown community affords these players the opportunity to get scholarships and be able to attend Lee College,” Champagne said. “Our service is a small way of trying to give back.”

As some players scooped up potato salad and passed out homemade desserts, others filled up glasses of tea for the Curt’s Kitchen patrons and assisted the ministry volunteers by washing dishes and helping to clear tables. Children got high-fives from the team, asked questions and posed for photos with their favorite players.

Basketball team volunteers at Curt's Kitchen
The Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Basketball Team donned aprons and plastic gloves Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2016, as volunteers at Curt’s Kitchen, a ministry of Cedar Bayou Grace United Methodist Church in Baytown that provides a free weekly dinner to people in need. The student-athletes also donated 600 canned goods to help keep the ministry’s shelves well stocked for its patrons. Pictured on the serving line, from left: Roc Johnson, Julian Powell and Javonte Cooper.

Nita Davis, who coordinates Curt’s Kitchen for Cedar Bayou Grace, was impressed by the team’s generosity and willingness to share their time with the more than 100 people served by the ministry each week. In addition to dinner, the church also provides daily sack lunches to children in the neighborhood who would otherwise be unable to eat during summer break. The ministry works strictly on donations.

“To come in and work in the kitchen — that’s what makes you tear up,” Davis said of the Runnin’ Rebels, adding that their gift of canned goods would also make a difference to those in need. “They were so excited and anything we asked them to do, they did. It’s a tremendous thing.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.