BENNINGTON – The Mount Anthony boys’ basketball team has yet to start its season, testing is scheduled for Monday. That hasn’t stopped the Patriots from giving back to the community. About 15 players and coaching staff handed out more than 30 Thanksgiving meals to MAU on Tuesday.
Players took turns to stand out in the cold, holding signs informing Park Street drivers of the giveaway. It was also announced on social media.
Hunter Stratton remembers hosting community service events while playing for the Patriots basketball team. The 2011 graduate and new basketball head coach wants to bring that sense of pride back to the community.
âWe all kind of want to start getting out of the community a little bit more,â Stratton said.
Those who received a meal went to the WBU cafeteria and the players delivered the meals directly to their vehicle. Each meal consisted of a frozen turkey and canned vegetables.
Stratton also sees the giveaway as an opportunity for the team to bond off the field.
âWhen they do things like that, they’re going to have a better experience once the season starts,â Stratton said. “They’re going to have that team attitude and unity already, so it’s good that they’re willing to do it.”
DeShawn Hamlet joins the Stratton coaching staff as an assistant to the varsity team. Hamlet hosted a similar giveaway with his local basketball group Battle of the Future last year. Stratton took note of the community involvement and aimed to do something similar with MAU basketball.
âAfter Hunter got the job, we sat down and talked and he was like, ‘Hey, I see what you’re doing in the community,’ Hamlet said. ‘I want you to be a part of it. of Mount Anthony basketball. “
The turkey gift is just the start. Stratton said MAU will also run a toy giveaway and a youth basketball clinic throughout the year.
The clinic was scheduled to open on Wednesday, although all schools in the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union were forced to close on Wednesday due to the number of reported COVID-19 cases. This canceled all extracurricular activities, including the youth clinic.
Stratton is thrilled to start the clinic.
âIt’s really great for young kids to be able to come out and play and meet the guys,â Stratton said. âThis is what they are looking for. This is what they want in 10 years.
When the Patriots hit the basketball court to officially start their season next week, they’ll have a head start on team chemistry with events like The Turkey Gift.