COLUMBIA — In merely 30 minutes, Rock Bridge boys basketball fans donated $311.37 to Heroes for Haiti, a collaborative effort by Rock Bridge student organizations.
“I truly was expecting $50, maybe $75, but when we looked into the bucket, we were shocked,” Lauren Croll, senior class vice president, said.
Moments before the national anthem, Croll announced to the Bruins’ fans that a bucket resembling a bear like the Bruins mascot would be passed among the spectators, asking for just “any spare change they could donate.”
The Rock Bridge boys basketball game against Sumner on Thursday proved charitable.
While freshman guard Travis Jorgenson was dropping in 3-pointers in the first half, the Columbia community was dropping $20 bills into a makeshift donation bucket created from an old coffee container.
“The community gets behind Rock Bridge basketball, so the game was a great place to promote Heroes for Haiti,” Heather Eaton, student council president, said. “They know we are a trustworthy group. The fans became a convenient way to get money.”
Heroes for Haiti started as a student effort to raise money throughout the community to donate to the earthquake crisis in Haiti. The coalition comprises numerous student organization groups at Rock Bridge, including the National Honor Society, Student Council, Muslim Student Union and Zombie Defense League.
“Actually, it was someone from the Zombie Defense League that coined the name,” Croll said.
Eventually, a cakewalk, dance off and karaoke event, alongside donations from various clubs and community members, will contribute to the group’s effort, Croll said. However, the Bruin’s game against Sumner was the group’s first event.
“I hope it can be used in Haiti because it can really help some people down there,” said senior forward Charlie Henderson, whose 22 points led the Bruins to a 65-43 victory. “Lord knows they need it.”
Heroes for Haiti is using Partners In Health, an organization that brings medical care to poor countries around the world, to make a direct impact on helping Haitians, Croll said. Their initial goal is to raise $10,000, but only $2,000 will be needed to build a hospital using Partners In Health.
Bruins coach Jim Scanlon was unaware of the relief effort before the game.
“That’s Rock Bridge for you,” Scanlon said. “Always there to help.”
The student group plans on using the generosity of the boys basketball fans again, with plans to ask the community to match a dollar donation to every point scored or even the margin of victory against rival Hickman, Croll said.
“It would definitely be a little bonus, but it wouldn’t weigh on our minds during the game so much,” senior guard Ricky Kreklow said. “But after the game, it would feel pretty good to know that every point we scored went to help Haiti.”
The No. 6-ranked Bruins improved to 12-4 with their win against Sumner. Their next game is on Jan. 28 at Hickman.