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Women's Basketball Spreads Christmas Cheer Through Toy Drive
Fans can drop off unwrapped toys to the Sullivan Athletics Center Monday-Friday from 9-5

Fans can drop off unwrapped toys to the Sullivan Athletics Center Monday-Friday from 9-5

Dec. 4, 2013

Toy Drive Flyer

CHICAGO - These Blue Demons make the most out of their chance to play Santa Claus.

The women's basketball players are conducting a toy drive that will spread a little Christmas cheer to 160 pre-school students at the St. Vincent de Paul Center and also help out victims of the devastating Nov. 17 tornado that hit hardest in central Illinois.

Fans attending the 7 p.m. DePaul home game Saturday against North Side rival Loyola and those packing into McGrath-Phillips Arena on Dec. 12 for a 6 p.m. tipoff against No. 5/6 Kentucky are encouraged to donate unwrapped toys and games for boys and girls 3-5 years old.  Donations boxes will be located in the McGrath-Phillips Arena lobby.

On non gamedays, a donation box is located in the lobby of the Sullivan Athletics Center (2323 N. Sheffield) from 9a.m.-5 p.m., Monday thru Friday.

"We hope to brighten up the Christmas season for the children at the St. Vincent de Paul Center and for the families recovering from that horrific tornado," said DePaul women's basketball coach Doug Bruno. "We are constantly looking for ways to be of service to our fellow Chicagoans, and the toy drive presents a great opportunity to serve the community."

Last year, the players pooled their resources and got together with assistant coach Bart Brooks and his wife Charlene to help a family who would not be opening presents on Dec. 25th.

Charlene is a former Blue Demon who played for Bruno from 2002-05 and is now a social worker who connected the basketball team with a Rogers Park family. The student-athletes went shopping and purchased gifts for each of the three children in the family.

"Our women's basketball program focuses on academics and the Vincentian spirit of service as well as basketball," Bruno said. "To us, academics and community service are just as important as winning basketball games.

"The idea for a toy drive came from assistant coach Jill Pizzotti who conducted one while she was the head coach at Saint Louis."

Bruno said the toys will be distributed after DePaul's Dec. 16 home game against Dartmouth that will also celebrate Field Trip Day.

"The women's basketball program is always looking for community-service activities to undertake during the winter break, and this will be our first toy drive," said Lisa Ryckbosch, Director of Professional, Corporate & Community Relations. "Coach Bruno is a huge advocate of helping the less fortunate and serving the community.

"Our players realize they are blessed to attend college and compete as student-athletes at DePaul. They are enthusiastic and proud to share their blessings with others and excited to show their appreciation for everything they've been given."