BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — Athletes are used to spending this time playing their sport with their friends. For the Baltimore Union Soccer Club, these kids are used to being on the field multiple days a week.
The club is made up kids ages 5-18 in 54 teams.
That's something they haven't been able to do because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"When the on the field portion was taken away from us, we could only focus on off the field and we looked around in our club we have a ton of first responders, front line health care workers so we decided to put something together to take care of them in a time of need," said CJ Gerbes, the Director of Ways and Means for the club.
He said they took this time to start raising money with a goal of $5,000. They wound up getting 150 donations from people in the club and in the community, plus getting a match from the White Marsh Rec Council, bringing their total to more than $11,000.
"Way over the goal. We were overwhelmed. It was cool to see especially now when we have such stressful times financially," said Gerbes.
They were able to deliver hundreds of meals to a few dozens locations, like hospitals, fire department, police departments and grocery stores.
"As much as the first responders and those healthcare givers are in that stressed out environment, if you've been to the grocery store I think you'll see those guys and girls are just as important to us right now so we wanna take care of them as well," said Gerbes. "If we can put one smile on somebody it's great because smiles are contagious and we just hope the smiles are more contagious than the virus."
The players are still practicing their skills, through virtual training. However, the coaches have really taken this time to stress the importance of community for all of their players.
"We wanna drive home for those kids to be involved in the community and there's no better way than to just lead by example," said Gerbes. "We want our kids to be great soccer players. We want them to excel on the field and we could debate how many kids are gonna play in college or at a higher level but we know that 100 percent of these kids are going to be citizens and we wanna make sure they're connected to their community and they give back all the time."
The Baltimore Union Soccer Club requires all their players to do community service projects every season. This was just something extra because of the extraordinary times we're in.