Although members of the football teams at the Brook Hill School and St. John Paul II Academy, of Boca Raton, were eager to compete against one another in the Tyler Ford Brook Hill American Warrior Bowl Saturday night, that morning the teams united for a special purpose.
Both teams, along with cheerleaders and drill team members, gathered inside the gymnasium at Brook Hill, packaging and assembling meals that will be used to feed 20,000 children at schools in Zambia.
Brook Hill Athletic Director Wally Dawkins said a major aspect of the bowl was for students to show patriotism and honor those who have sacrificed for their freedom.
Having students take part in a service project to give to those in other countries who don’t have some of the same freedoms or resources was very important, he said.
“We wanted both these groups to get together to help kids somewhere else that were less fortunate,” Dawkins said. “It’s not a competition. They’re working together to package these 20,000 meals to send them overseas to kids that wish they had some of the blessings we have.”
Jeff Pedigo, director of Kid’s Against Hunger of Central East Texas, a humanitarian food-aid organization, helped lead and organize the players and students during the event. He said the students made packages of a rice-soy casserole that is high in protein and other vitamins and minerals.
Pedigo said that every day about 20,000 children die from malnutrition and the work done by the two teams on Saturday morning will help strongly impact the lives of the students who receive it in Zambia.
“It allows their education day to go longer,” he said. “It helps elevate their test scores. It fights malnutrition. “
Alec Kitt, Brook Hill senior and wide receiver on the football team said it felt great to be a part of the event, which was held several hours before the teams met on the football field.
He added that both teams working together for a good cause was something that transcended the game.
“It’s bigger than just football,” Kitt said. “I hope that it bonds Florida and Texas together and shows that even though we’ll be head-to-head on the field we’re all working towards the same purpose.”