Aug. 29, 2012
WASHINGTON - The goal was simple for the Georgetown men's basketball team when the Hoyas visited So Others Might Eat (SOME) in the Northeast section of Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon. It was to put a smile on your face and give back just a little bit.
Led by Head Coach John Thompson III, the entire men's basketball team and coaches and staff hopped in vans and headed downtown to SOME, one of 30 locations in the Nation's Capital where the aim is "restoring hope and dignity one person at a time."
The Hoyas arrived at the complex on O Street NEaround 11 a.m. and after an introduction to the staff, the players, coaches and staff were provided aprons, name tags and given instructions on what they would be doing over the next two hours.
"The D.C. community supports us tremendously and we didn't look at this as an `experience'" Thompson said. "We just wanted to come down and help out as much as we can. A lot of times all of us take for granted or lose sight of how fortunate and blessed we are and what we have. Being that we have been given a lot, it's our obligation to help out and give back as much as we can."
SOME is an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of the Nation's Capital. The group meets the immediate daily needs of the people they serve with food, clothing and health care. The offices on O Street, where the Hoyas gathered, serve breakfast and lunch to more than 1,000 people each day, with breakfast being served between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In addition, SOME helps to break the cycle of homelessness by offering services, such as affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment and counseling to the poor, elderly and individuals with mental illness.
"We've only been here a short time and they're going to rewind and clean up and do this again tomorrow and do it 365 days a year," Thompson said. "In addition to the food component, SOME has a clothing component - what they call their five-star boutique - where people can pick out what they want. There's a medical component across the street. It's a tremendous organization that as a team, we're going to partner up with and this is not going to be the last time we're going to come down here."
During three separate lunch shifts, Coach Thompson and his players served lunch, refilled water and coffee, handed out sandwiches, washed dishes and cleaned up tables to set up for the next shift of people coming in for lunch.
"It was a great team-building experience for us to come out here and help the people who aren't as fortunate and give back to the community," center Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) said. "You see a lot of smiles on their faces. It's good to know that you can help people in just a short period of time by just giving them food."
It was an eye-opening experience for the players, who chatted with people as they came in and had lunch. Many of the people who came in for lunch thanked them for coming, remarked on how big the players were and said the Hoyas were their favorite team.
"It's always good to give back," sophomore forward Greg Whittington (Columbia, Md./Oakland Mills) said. "We're part of D.C. and we get a lot of support, but a lot of people came through the line and were saying they watched on us TV. Our school is not really a college campus and we're more in the city, so we meet people who have nothing to do with Georgetown but they really root for us. And then to get a chance to see how they live, it's an eye-opening experience."