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Appalachian State volleyball players Emma Longley and Jenna Talbert delivering toys to Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte.
Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics
Player Journal: App State Volleyball Gives Back
Courtesy: Emma Longley/Appalachian State Volleyball
Release: Thursday 12/22/2016 (ET)
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**Appalachian State University volleyball student-athletes Emma Longley and Courtney Sullivan arranged for the program to raise money to buy toys for sick children at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. Below is a first hand account from freshman Emma Longley**

Appalachian State Volleyball has consistently been a program that gives. All season long we were shown how fortunate and privileged we were and with that, we came up with the idea of a toy drive. As the number of games left in our season grew smaller, we found ways to make the most of them behind the scenes and spread holiday cheer.

The volleyball program generously allowed 50 percent of proceeds from t-shirt and souvenir sales to go to the team for the fundraiser. Our goal was to collect as much money as possible so that we could go buy toys for the kids at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. We are so grateful for all of our fans and supporters who graciously helped us raise $450.

On Dec. 1, team members took a quick, two-hour trip to Walmart and purchased over 75 toys that were appropriate for kids aged one month to 18 years old.  Representatives from the team hand delivered the presents to the hospital in Charlotte. Because it’s flu season and colds are spreading like wildfire, we were not allowed to personally deliver the gifts to the children, however, the experience was not a disappointment. The gratitude the doctors showed when collecting the gifts was extremely touching and they stressed to us how much the kids will appreciate this. It is a horrible thought to have to spend the holidays in the hospital and this offered just a tiny piece of joy for these families. 

The whole point of this fundraiser was not to publicize App State Volleyball, or to brag about the good deeds we did. Players wanted to do this project to give families in the hospital something to smile about. Parents can’t leave a sick child to go to the store, so we were able to do it for them.  Our team is so fortunate to be able to attend a great university and receive our education from some of the best professors around, and often we take this for granted.

These kids will miss weeks at a time from school and their friends. While our team suffered plenty of injuries this fall, this gave us an opportunity to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and allow us a chance to be grateful for our good health.  Knowing that children are fighting for their lives helped put our problems into perspective. It really didn’t matter what kinds of toys we bought or how many. What really mattered was that the families at Levine knew they were being thought of this time of year. This experience allowed for our team to come closer and understand the true meanings of the holiday season. We hope to continue this tradition in the future so that others can have this lasting experience!

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