A simple birthday wish for a California Lutheran University student turned into a wish come true for many on Jan. 17 as the men’s rugby team came together to give sack lunches away to the homeless of Los Angeles.
Senior rugby player Bryce Henderson said he immediately thought of the idea to give back to people who are less fortunate than others when asked what he wanted to do for his birthday.
“I am a firm believer in service and giving to others,” Henderson said.
With the belief that there is a huge social gap between the rich and the poor, Henderson said he believes that taking action locally is the best place to start.
According to a numerical count done by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority in 2015, homelessness in the Los Angeles County has reached 44,359 men, women and children.
Henderson is not new to the idea of giving back to others. As the son of a firefighter, he would travel with his father during the holiday times to less affluent areas to deliver toys to children who couldn’t get any.
“From there my service career sort of took a life of its own,” Henderson said.
The team came together to make the whole operation run smoothly, whether they were giving out food or simply just giving their time.
On the morning of the team’s match against Occidental College, some of the team members made sack lunches of sandwiches, fruit, water and chips. These lunches were distributed across a few blocks in the downtown Los Angeles area after the match.
“We went up to people in tents and asked them if they wanted a sandwich. Other people came up to us and said, ‘can I have a bag?’ and we did that until we ran out,” sophomore rugby player Brian Alex said.
The idea of knowing that one less person is going to be hungry even if only for a night is what fueled the Cal Lutheran rugby team to band together and perform this act of kindness.
“I like how spontaneous it was and how it came from within the team,” Alex said. “It was a sign of how close our team is, that we can not only play rugby together but that we hang out and we do service together.”
The idea of feeding the homeless is what the rugby team hopes to be the first of many service projects they put on.
Alex said that the team plans to make this a tradition and he hopes to do it again at least once more this year.
“I’m grateful I have teammates who are willing to venture out and do services with me, but at the same time it was only a minuscule action and hardly makes a wave in the grand scheme,” Henderson said.
Henderson said he would like to start a fund or a monthly club on campus that would be willing to get together and do such service acts.
Rugby team captain Aaron Bowman was very pleased to see his team coming together. It allowed him to see his players for more than just athletes but as good Samaritans too.
“I enjoyed the efforts of everybody the most,” Bowman said. “It was great to see everybody’s collaboration to give back to those who need it.”
This type of team bonding is something Cal Lutheran’s rugby team is hoping can transfer to the field in their upcoming season. Coming off of a huge 45-5 win against University of California, San Diego, the Knights hope to keep a centralized focus in aspirations of reaching playoffs.
“The team has a group of talented returners as well as new players with huge potential,” Bowman said. “There is good team chemistry, desire and a will to win.”
The Knights’ next home game is on Feb. 13 against Pepperdine University.
Published February 3rd, 2016