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Team Benefits From Community Support
It happens every year, and this year has started out the same. Escalon community members - not just parents - turn out to support the EHS varsity football team, the games bringing in alumni, parents, relatives and friends to cheer on the Cougars.

Part of the support also extends to the players themselves, who are treated to a pre-game meal at the Escalon Community Center prior to home games and also receive a sack lunch for the long bus ride home after away games.

Coordinating the meal service this year is varsity parent Debbie Hill.

"We're really just a group of parents trying to feed kids," she said. "It's a community effort."

Many parents of the varsity players take turns putting on the home game meal or putting together the sack lunches, often with donations given by other parents and sometimes from local businesses.

For those that want to help, Hill said they do take donations of food products, cash or checks, and it all goes to help feed the kids.

"Michelle Fitzgerald and I have been coordinating it," Hill added, noting that they have been able to put together the sack lunches for both the Calaveras scrimmage on Aug. 27 and the season opener at Lathrop on Sept. 3.

Varsity players get a sack lunch including a sandwich, chips, cookie, fruit and a drink.

"We provide lunches for the bus driver and coaches as well," said Hill. "At the Calaveras game, they were all so grateful, very appreciative."

The home games see the varsity team gathering at the Escalon Community Center for a barbecue or pasta dinner about 3:30 p.m., so the meal has time to settle prior to the game. The sack lunches for away games are given to the players when they board the bus to come home.

"So far I think we have the home games covered," Hill said of lining up families to work and donate food for the barbecues. "We do need some help for the away games, even if people just want to donate a case of Gatorade."

Monetary donations are always welcome, to help purchase the food, and volunteers can help out by putting together the lunches for the away games.

Those that are interested in assisting - you don't have to have a player on the team to get involved - can contact Hill at 613-5928.

"We're asking our varsity parents to take a game, get them to help out," she said.

The meals have been a great way to build team camaraderie prior to the home games and are a good way to wind down on the bus coming home. Hill said it's a good feeling to offer something as simple as a sandwich and chips and get the hugs and thanks of grateful players.