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Dallas College Basketball Team Bonds While Fighting Hunger

NBC Dallas logo NBC Dallas 5/14/2021 Deborah Ferguson
Tim Jennings et al. posing for the camera © Provided by NBC Dallas

North Texas Food Bank continues its partnership with Dallas College and bringing mobile pantries to seven campuses. The two have a longstanding relationship that intensified when the pandemic started.

"We were serving thousands of individuals every week. There was such a need," said Cathy Edwards, the associate dean of the student care network at Dallas College.

She was at the Mountain View campus this week where the line for food wasn't as long as in the past, but still there.

"People who went through their savings when they were unemployed are now having to build back up their savings. Unemployment is still very high. The cost of living is still very high," said Liana Solis, North Texas Food Bank spokeswoman.

"We definitely still need support in many ways," she said. "Whether you want to volunteer with us, whether you want to donate money. Every one dollar donated provides three meals to feed someone in our community or donating nonperishable food."

Yet on a dreary, chilly, damp day, spirits were high. With coronavirus infections decreasing and people getting vaccinated, volunteers are being welcomed back to food banks and food pantries.

"It brings me joy to be around my students again. We have the basketball team. They're putting their muscles to work," smiled Edwards.

"I got new guys coming in and it's the first time we're doing a team-building thing, and it's great," said LeRoi Phillips, the men's basketball head coach at Mountain View. "Once my guys got here and started looking at the faces of the people getting food, it's a joy."

The players don't have took that far, though, to see the need.

"I definitely understand what people are going through," said freshman basketball player Taven Jackel, 19.

Jackel, a student from East Texas, understands because he has been in that situation.

"It can be embarrassing to ask for food because I've definitely have had to ask for help to eat. So I totally get it," he said.

While Jackel lives on his own, his family back home in East Texas and San Antonio do support him, and he's grateful he can lean on them.

"I'm blessed that I'm able to have food and that I'm able to help people that are in need."

Even on a dreary day when the need for food goes on, there are signs of progress and steps in the right direction.

"I actually haven't met all the guys. So it's good to meet all the guys so now we can create a bond and next season, we can be good," Jackel smiled.

So many people hoping for a better season.

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