Sun Partners with Meal Center to Serve Community

As part of WNBA Cares Week of Service, the Connecticut Sun players, coaches and staff served dinner Monday evening at the New London Community Meal Center. This marks the fourth consecutive year the Connecticut Sun and the Center have partnered to serve the community.

Players piled plates high with turkey and gravy, sides of mashed potatoes and stuffing, salad and fruit. The meal ended with an assortment of desserts, including pie and cookies. All food and beverages were donated by Mohegan Sun and prepared by its catering staff.

Sun guard Allison Hightower has participated in each of the Sun’s visits to the New London Community Meal Center and enjoys giving back to the community.

“This is my fourth year being able to come back and do this, being able to feed the community and making sure people have hot meals,” she said. “It feels good, because in life you never want to take any day for granted.”

The New London Community Meal Center offers nutritious meals to area residents in need. Lunch is provided five days a week, and dinner six days a week from 5-6 p.m.

The Connecticut Sun’s annual visit to the New London Community Meal Center has become a meaningful part of the players’ preseason schedule.

“I feel like it’s giving for us, because we are able to give back to the community that does so much for us,” Sun forward Kelsey Griffin said. “The fact that we give back to the community, it’s not something that’s done for appearance sake. It’s because we genuinely care. It’s very rewarding to be a part of that.”

All of the Connecticut Sun players were on hand for the event. Sun rookie and 2014 No. 1 Draft pick, Chiney Ogwumike, stood at the head of the line, handing plates to each person as they began to collect their food. She felt it was a great opportunity to bond with her new teammates.

“It’s team building,” she said. “This is really the first true event outside of our group meeting that we got to do something in the community. We’re having fun with it, we’re striking conversations. We’re bonding as a team as well.”

Ogwumike also welcomed the chance to connect with Sun fans and give back to the community.

“A lot of people who came through the line were Connecticut Sun fans or UConn fans, huge women’s basketball fans, and it means a lot,” she said. “To start the year off with a huge community service event, it shows that we understand what the game really is. It’s more than a game. We have to inspire people; we have to serve the community and, hopefully, make them proud.”

In addition to serving meals, the Connecticut Sun donated food items that were collected during its preseason opener on May 4th.

The Sun will continue to conduct a food drive to benefit the New London Community Meal Center at the start of its regular season opener against the New York Liberty, on May 16th at Mohegan Sun Arena. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations. Bins for food collection will be available on the concourse just inside both entrances of Mohegan Sun Arena.

- Written by Stephen Dennis