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Time for Hawks to give back

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | APRIL 30, 2010 7:30 AM

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The University of Iowa’s relationship with the Iowa City community is about to grow stronger.

And it’s time for Hawkeye fans to clean out their closets, gather up some clothes, and head to the ballpark.

The Iowa Sports Marketing Department, Iowa Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County will collaborate to put on a clothing drive on May 2 when the baseball team faces Minnesota at 1 p.m. in Banks Field and the softball team hosts Ohio State at 2 p.m. in Pearl Field.

Fans are encouraged to donate new or gently used clothing items, as well as boxes of diapers and cans of formula, which will lower the price of a ticket to $2.

“We are inspired to host the clothing drive because we see an opportunity in our community where the Iowa Hawkeyes can help,” Iowa sports marketing assistant Rob Miller said. “The University of Iowa is an integral part of Johnson County, and we look to share in [the neighborhood centers’] mission of helping local people.”

According to the organization’s website, the neighborhood centers is “dedicated to building a better future for people in neighborhoods through programs and activities that educate, strengthen families, and create a sense of community.”

Child-development director Jessica Perone said members of the organization were thrilled to work with the university and its sports teams.

“The athletics department actually contacted us and asked if we would be interested in partnering, and we thought it was a great idea,” Perone said. “Any chance to partner with the [university], we try to do.”

Iowa Student Athlete Advisory Committee is a leadership group consisting of two student-athletes from each Hawkeye sports team.

Senior President Erica Clausen, who completed her eligibility as a goalkeeper on the Iowa soccer team last fall, said she expects an attendance boost for both games.

Fans should also look forward to meeting other student-athlete committee members who will be handling all donations, she said.

“I just hope that a large crowd comes out, and the community sees that we’re trying to do things for the greater good and that we’re giving back time as well as promoting our athletics community,” Clausen said.

Summer clothing is in particularly high demand, but Perone said Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County would find a use for whatever items fans may bring. Families in the organization’s programs can go through donations, and Perone will also deliver specialized care packages through the organization’s home visiting program.

“Any donations are appreciated,” she said. “We pass them on to support the families that we work with. We’re open to anything and thankful for anything anybody wants to donate.”

Miller, who helped come up with the idea for the clothing drive, said his department would contribute boxes of excess new Hawkeye T-shirts.

The marketing department will also honor children of Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County programs on the field before the games as well as during in-game promotions. Iowa wrestling head coach Tom Brands will throw out the first pitch of the softball game.

Iowa baseball head coach Jack Dahm said his team emphasizes having a relationship with the Iowa City community.

“One of the things that as a program we always talk about to our guys is that we want to give back,” he said. “Hopefully, we get a big crowd out there and get enough advertising that we will have some people that will be able to bring some clothes and help out. It’s good to see us being able to give back to the community.”


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