LaGrange College celebrates Division III week by giving back to the community

Published 8:30 am Saturday, April 9, 2022

It is Division III week and Troup County’s own Division III school LaGrange College is celebrating by giving back to the community.

“This week is an opportunity for everyone associated with Division III athletics to observe and celebrate the impact student-athletes have on the campus and the community,” Athletic Director Terlynn Olds said.

Instead of this week being about the “I”, it is about the “we.” It is not about celebrating individual accomplishments on the field and in the classroom; it is more about how big of an impact student-athletes can have on the community around them if they choose to channel their energy in the right direction.

“We go and collect coins for a particular cause,” Olds said. “This year’s cause is Feeding the Valley.”

The initiative is called “Pennies for a Purpose” and is one of two major yearly community outreach programs that are initiated by student-athletes in the USA South Conference — the other is Cans Across The Conference which takes place around Thanksgiving every year.

“The athletes are responsible for creating jugs or whatever they choose to collect with and go around campus and ask anybody willing to give coins for this particular cause,” Olds said.

Despite the fact that the student-athletes are leading the way, it is truly a campus-wide event that is encouraging all students and staff to help benefit the community.

“Our athletes are the ones leading this, but we are asking individuals throughout campus to help support it,” Olds said. “This is a student-athlete led initiative.”

Student-athletes now make up around 65% of the student body at LaGrange College.

Feeding the Valley is a food bank that is headquartered in Columbus that has a multitude of food banks in west Georgia including one in LaGrange. Feeding the Valley collaborates with more than 350 different partner programs (churches, non-profit organizations, emergency food pantries, after school programs, youth programs, senior centers, homeless shelters, and others) to help get food to underserved communities in west Georgia.

In the past, LaGrange College has partnered with Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and Autism Speaks to collect funds as they rotate through the many wonderful charity organizations in Troup County.

The Pennies for a Purpose initiative was started in 2008 and over the first 10 years of existence the USA South Conference had raised nearly $80,000 for charitable causes across the southeast. This year’s Pennies for a Purpose will end an April 10, so there is still time for anybody willing to donate loose change to get in the initiative before it is too late.