BAR HARBOR — The varsity volleyball team at Mount Desert Island High School took part in a different kind of exercise this fall. By auctioning off signed volleyballs at home games, they raised $500 to purchase groceries for the Bar Harbor Food Pantry.
“We were really tickled we were able to raise that money. It was over five rounded grocery carts [of food],” said former head coach Toddy Brophy. The food pantry provides free groceries to Hancock County families in need.
When Coach Brophy first began coaching at the high school in 2000, he took teams trick-or-treating for groceries for the pantry. But then “we started doing well,” he said. When the teams began regularly qualifying for post-season play, they no longer had time for the activity.
This year, the coach saw another high school team auctioning off balls. Integrating the auction into games, he recalled, would allow his team to give back to the community without sacrificing time in practice.
“We got a pretty good deal on a bunch of volleyballs,” he said. At first, he intended proceeds to go to programs supplementing the purchase of heating oil. “After the first raffle, we realized we weren’t going to raise much money for oil,” he said. So the fund-raising efforts were used for food.
An area referee, Dave Renault, heard of the effort and donated a portion of his refereeing salary. One of the player’s mothers, Tina Reed, donated her time to help shop for the groceries and organize the efforts. Coach Brophy further helped by clipping coupons.
While the brunt of the benefit goes to the community, the coach said his players benefited as well. “They start realizing that some people struggle to get a meal on the table and it gives them a little better perspective on things that affect other people.”