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A total of 85 young gymnasts took part in Sunday's Harvest Food Drive. The event brought in 625 pounds of food donations

Sunday November 17, 20132013 Harvest Food Drive brings in 625 pounds of food for local food bank

Gainesville, Fla.

A total of 85 young gymnasts took part in Sunday's Harvest Food Drive. The event brought in 625 pounds of food donations

By Eden Otero, UF Athletic Communications


625 pounds.


That is the amount of food that the University of Florida Gymnastics team collected at their annual Harvest Food Drive on Sunday.


2013 Gator Gymnastics Harvest Food Drive

photo gallery

The Harvest Food Drive is held every year to collect food to donate to a local food shelter for the upcoming holidays. This year UF was able to double the number of participating gymnasts and gather the largest amount of food yet.


As one little girl walked into the Stephen C. O’Connell Center she told the gymnasts that she brought 55 pounds of food to the event, one for each pound that she weighed. Well, actually she went a bit beyond as she revealed she actually only weighed in at 52 pounds.


“It’s just an incredible opportunity. We always want to be able to give back to our community. Our town is just so amazing in supporting us and we want to do the same when we have the chance,” Rhonda Faehn, UF gymnastics head coach, said.


Donating nonperishable food was the price to get into and practice with the defending NCAA champion Gator gymnasts. A total of 85 little athletes, ranging from ages 4 to 12 years old, were able to tumble and somersault with the UF gymnasts from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m.


Brooke Glavener was one of the many young gymnasts that rotated through the six station workout that included the four gymnastics apparatus – vault, bars, beam and floor. While the young girls worked out, current Gator gymnasts as well as Gator alums Maranda Smith, Marissa King and Ashanée Dickerson instructed them.


“My favorite part is working out with the Gators and bringing the food to the people,” Glavener said.


It was sophomore gymnast Bridget Sloan’s second year participating in the food drive.  Sloan’s second year with the event didn’t disappoint. While she worked the trampoline, she still enjoyed being able to give back to the community, especially during the holiday season.


“It means a lot coming from a small town in Indiana where we did a lot of canned food drives at my high school,” Sloan said.  “So it’s awesome to see the Gator Nation come together and help out, especially during the season.”


Briana, one of the many little gymnasts to attend the event, came dressed in her own orange-and-blue leotard with a big orange “F” decorated in glitter on the front. 


Briana said she looked forward to the Harvest Food Drive every year because she got to work out with the Gator gymnasts, but she enjoyed giving to those in need even more.


“It makes me feel great because some people just can’t help not having the ability to get food and we’re helping them,” she said.


Even with the tumbling and beam-walking, the biggest accomplishment of the day was the 625 pounds of food UF was able to raise and donate to people in need for the holidays. Being the most food that the Harvest Food Drive has taken yet, it is only bound to grow in the coming years.


“Every single year we love doing this because we know that it’s going to help out the community of Gainesville,” Faehn said. “Especially in this time of year, heading into Thanksgiving, there’s a lot of families less fortunate that are really in need. The little gymnasts coming into the door today each contributing 5 can goods - it’s really a special event for everyone involved. We have a great time working with the young gymnasts and it makes everyone happy to take that food to our local food bank and help others that are really in need.”



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