By Andrew Longeteig
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Great Bay Community College played host Nov. 26 to the first annual "Hoops to Help" fundraiser. The event drew 12 New Hampshire high school basketball squads teaming up to fight hunger as well as benefit area girls basketball programs.
"With the Thanksgiving holiday and the weather getting colder, we were excited to kick this off," said Sean Young, first-year head men's basketball coach at Great Bay CC. "A bunch of our Great Bay players also gave back their time instead of working or spending time with friends or family. This event wouldn't have happened without them in addition to the girls high school basketball coaches who committed to this great cause."
The event collected nearly 700 pounds of non-perishable food items as part of the ninth annual Pease n' Carrots holiday food drive to help less-fortunate folks in the Seacoast area. In addition, "Hoops to Help" raised about $500 in cash donations to be used by Seacoast Family Food Pantry to buy specific food items in need.
Portsmouth Christian Academy (Dover, N.H.) led all schools by contributing 104 pounds of non-perishable food plus $210 in cash donations while Mascenic Regional (New Ipswich, N.H.) donated 71 pounds and $150, and Sanborn Regional (Kingston, N.H.) collected 91 pounds of food. Other participating high schools were Coe-Brown, Epping, Farmington, Hopkinton, Lebanon, Pelham, Portsmouth, Souhegan and Sunapee.
Overall, the first-year event proved successful.
"We were able to support a great cause to help create a hunger-free community," said Jeff Gray, first-year head women's basketball coach at Great Bay CC. "'Hoops to Help' also served to showcase our thriving community college while attracting top recruits to our campus."
The high school girls teams also competed in officiated scrimmages throughout the day at Great Bay CC's new basketball facility, which drew about 300 fans.
"We're super thankful of what these programs were able to do for us," Young said. "This has helped create awareness for a problem going on in the Seacoast area, and people also have fun doing it to support good causes. I have five other schools already reaching out to me who would like to participate next year, so we're looking forward to growing this event."