TALLAHASSEE, FLA, December 17. PART of being a team includes picking up those teammates that need a little help. The Florida State University swimming and diving squads did their part this fall to help out those less fortunate in the Tallahassee area with a food drive to benefit America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend, per university reports.
Coordinated by graduate assistant coach Jonathan Kaplan, a member of the Seminole program from 1999-2002, a system was set up to count the team’s victories starting with the September 25 meet against Clemson through the November 16 contest versus Florida. All the donations that were raised went directly to the 13 counties that make up the Big Bend Area.
“We have a lot of kids from Florida, but not many from Tallahassee so this is a way for us to say thank you to the community that supports us by helping those who are less fortunate,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “It’s a great thing that we can give back and do something for the community. Our staff lives in this community and some of our student-athletes might stay here so I think it’s a great gesture for them to do this.”
For every individual event victory, three cans of food were donated to Second Harvest. Relay victories translated into five cans of food and for each dual meet victory the team donated at turkey. When the final victory totals were calculated, the Seminoles were in line to donate 895 cans and 37 turkeys to Second Harvest.
Kaplan, a four-time ACC Honor Roll member, parlayed the donation even farther. After the 37 turkeys were purchased, he calculated how much money would be needed to buy the 895 cans and then donated the money to Second Harvest because for every one dollar that is donated to the organization, Second Harvest can, in turn, buy 28 pounds of food.
Through donations from the student-athletes and their parents, the Seminole swimming and diving team gave Second Harvest a check for $907, which bought 25,396 pounds of food. Based on estimates from the Second Harvest website, the money that was donated by Florida State was able to feed 45 families of four for a week in addition the 37 turkeys.
“Our kids are in the pool year-round for about four hours a day plus going to classes and
studying so it’s hard for them to have enough energy to get out and do something so this was a great way for us to help feed Tallahassee’s hungry,” Harper added. “It was an amazing figure that we came up with and we’re just proud as a staff that the team came together to help the needy.”