High school football coach helping kids and families this holiday

Published: Dec. 17, 2019 at 7:39 PM CST
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A Richland Center High School coach and his football team are making sure kids and families in his community have what they need this holiday season.

Coach Andrew Troxel spends a lot of his time teaching world religions at Richland Center High School, and he also coaches the football team.

Troxel does not just teach his athletes about sports. He preaches what he calls a "one hive" mentality, focusing on the larger community.

"We want kids to understand that it takes a community to do pretty special things," he said.

This holiday season, Troxel wanted to put that into practice. He came up with the idea of buying gifts for kids in need, and said more than 30 of his athletes jumped in to help.

"I thought it was a beautiful opportunity to give back to the community...since they've been showing us so much support," said Jack Teska, a junior on the football team.

The team reached out to the community and with their help, raised around $1,000. Then, they reached out to local elementary school teachers who helped craft wish lists for kids they thought could use a little help.

Las, the team hit the aisles at Walmart for a shopping spree.

"[It] kind of bring[s] back the inner kid almost, shopping for what you might have wanted when you were a kid and younger," said Easton Darling, a junior on the team.

After wrapping their dozens of gifts, the team delivered them to three elementary schools on Monday and Tuesday—Jefferson, Lincoln and Doudna. The team gave the gifts to the teachers who will hand them out to the kids.

"They were just amazed at the quantity and just that somebody was thinking about them," Troxel said.

The athletes said they want the kids to enjoy this and feel a sense of community, and some said they hope to also pass on Coach Troxel's lessons.

"I hope that eventually they see exactly what this really means in the big picture of not just getting presents," said Joel Ringelstetter Jr., a junior on the team.

Many team members said they want to do even more next year.

"I'd hope to do more fundraising and then be able to buy even more stuff for kids," Ringstetter said.

With the community's help, the team was also able to buy 40 Christmas meals from local grocery store ETFoods. Troxel and his coach staff will be collecting and distributing the meals to families over the weekend.