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Basketball Teams Bring Holiday Cheer to St. Barnabas Hospital and Union Health Community Center


The Fordham basketball teams led by head coaches Cathy Andruzzi and Jared Grasso demonstrated the Jesuit philosophy of homines pro aliis (people for others) on Thursday, Jan. 7, brightening the lives of some Bronx youngsters by presenting the children with presents at the St. Barnabas Hospital’s Pediatric Clinic and the Union Health Community Center, an affiliate of St. Barnabas Hospital, with the Fordham Rams’ annual toy donation.

The gifts presented to the children were donated by Fordham basketball fans at all men’s and women’s home basketball games prior to Christmas as well as by members of the Athletic Department. This year, the drive was also aided by major contributions from Mt. Carmel Pharmacy and the Paganelli Family. Besides the gifts, the children also received Fordham basketball yearbooks from the student-athletes. “We are so excited to have the team here,” said Patricia Belair, senior vice president of the hospital. “As the parent of a college student, I know how busy their lives can be. So it is so nice when the student-athletes can take time out of their day to spread some cheer.”

“The reach out to the children is a great reflection on the spirit at Fordham University,” said Fordham’s chairman of the board of trustees John Tognino, who is also a vice board chairman at St. Barnabas. “We are all proud to be Rams!”

“The children are always very excited to see the players,” said Nancy Spellman, Executive Director of the Union Community Health Center. “The players were extremely sweet and kind in interacting with the children.”

This is the first visit for the women’s basketball team to St. Barnabas Hospital, after visiting the Union Community Health Center the previous two holiday seasons. Both holiday visits by the women’s and men’s basketball teams are long-standing traditions with the Fordham basketball program in spreading holiday joy to less fortunate youngsters.

“Giving back to the community is a very vital part of Fordham women’s basketball,” notes Andruzzi. “Coaches and players are blessed and it is important for us to give back to those who are not as fortunate. Our players enjoyed going to St. Barnabas Hospital for the first time this afternoon to bring gifts and spend time with so many beautiful children.”

“It means a lot to the players to be able to give back to the community,” said Grasso. “The players love to see the smiles on the faces of the kids as they hand out the presents. I think they enjoy it as much as the children who receive the presents do.”

– Joe DiBari


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