|Davidson College Men’s Basketball Organizes Kicks from ’Cats—The Andrew Lovedale Shoe Drive; Feb. 21 Event Will Be “White Out” to Collect Shoes for Children in Africa
February 04, 2009
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Davidson, NC—Every summer, when Davidson College senior Andrew Lovedale returns to his hometown of Benin City, Nigeria, he packs his suitcases with dozens of “gently used” Davidson basketball shoes and jerseys. When he comes back to Davidson, the suitcases are empty—Lovedale has distributed the shoes to children and teens in the area where he lives.
When Lovedale returns to Benin City after graduation this summer, he hopes to deliver hundreds—maybe thousands—of pairs of shoes and other basketball gear to young people in his hometown. He’ll be getting some help from the Davidson community: On Saturday, Feb. 21, Davidson College and Samaritan’s Feet will sponsor Kicks from ’Cats – The Andrew Lovedale Shoe Drive.
Kicks from ’Cats will be supported by a White Out at the BracketBusters game—special white shirts will be available for purchase in the Davidson College Bookstore and online and proceeds will support the cost of shipping the shoes to Africa. People coming to the game are also asked to bring a new pair of shoes, preferably basketball shoes in men’s size 3 and up. The shoes will be distributed to people who need them in Benin City, and perhaps elsewhere in Nigeria. Shoes will be collected and sorted at the game by Davidson students, a group of alumni organized by Pete Ashcraft ’57, and Samaritan’s Feet, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing lives through Shoes of Hope distributions around the world. Samaritan’s Feet will also coordinate the complicated logistics associated with shipping and distribution in Nigeria.
The idea for Kicks from ’Cats came from Chris Dunn, ’97, owner of Carolina Pet Place in Winston-Salem, N.C. At a Davidson Athletic Foundation event last fall, Coach Bob McKillop talked about the team’s goals for the year, which included a pledge to help Lovedale gather more clothes and supplies for Nigeria. Dunn was inspired. “I was touched by the way that a team that defined the Madness of March could think beyond themselves,” he said, “to realize that it was not all about them. They were part of something bigger; they were a team, a community, both locally and globally.” As a member of the Davidson family, Dunn wanted to get involved, and he approached Davidson’s sports marketing department about doing a shoe drive.
Lovedale, a 23-year-old political science major, is nominated for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes student-athletes for great achievement during competition and in their community while staying in school. A forward for Davidson’s basketball team, Lovedale told USA Today last fall, “I am very lucky. I go home and see guys who jump higher than me and run faster. I don’t know why God picked me…but whatever way we can help them out, we try.”
“Andrew embodies the code of our basketball team,” said McKillop. “The code of commitment, care and trust. His life, on the court and off the court, is a living example of those three words.”
Alumnus Pete Ashcraft read about Lovedale’s work in USA Today last fall. “I was so moved,” he said, “and I wanted to help.” Ashcraft is organizing a group of Charlotte-area alumni who will help raise funds and collect new shoes and socks for the drive. “Andrew is the catalyst for this,” Ashcraft says, “but as he and Coach McKillop say, Davidson basketball is all about team. We want to be part of the team that helps Andrew with the great work he’s doing. But this is also our way of saying thanks to the team for many seasons of great spirit and great basketball!”
The Wildcats, who advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, own a 19-3 record this season and have won 42 consecutive Southern Conference games. Davidson is back in action against UNC Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum Thursday, Feb. 5, before hosting College of Charleston in Belk Arena on Saturday, Feb. 7.
Kicks from ’Cats is the third in a series of charitable events involving Davidson basketball this February. Also scheduled are BlackOut Belk Arena (Saturday, Feb. 7, 6 p.m.), which will benefit Hammers, and the Pink Zone event for women’s basketball (Saturday, Feb. 14, 2 p.m.), which will benefit the Kay Yow Foundation.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college. Ninety percent of Davidson students participate in service while at the college.
Posted By: Bill Giduz