While several college kids are enjoying their spring break at various beaches around the country and in the Caribbean, six Ole Miss players and some staff members decided to use their spring break to help others.
Led by senior linebacker D.T. Shackelford, Ole Miss players Justin Bell, Ontario Berry, Josh Richardson, Kameron Wood and John Youngblood are spending the week in Panama City (the capital of Panama, not the one in Florida) to visit an orphanage, feed the homeless and run some football clinics.
The group, which is also joined by Ole Miss football chaplain John Powel and team manager Lee Plaxicoare, have been in Panama City since Monday and come back Friday just in time for the Rebels to start spring football on Sunday.
“It says a lot about not only their character, but the environment that Coach Freeze and his staff have brought to this university,” Powell told the Ole Miss website of the players’ decision to go on the mission trip. “They understand the importance of giving back to those who are in need, and this opportunity gives them a chance to do that in a real way.”
Powell raised funds for the entire group through donations and received $1,600 more than what the group needed for travel and living expenses. The group joined 10-15 other college and professional athletes hoping to give back.
According to the article, the idea for the trip came from former Ole Miss receiver Michael Spurlock, who did a similar trip to Panama with members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year. He and his wife couldn't go this year, so he reached out to players at Ole Miss.
“My hope is that we all come back realizing how blessed we are here and that will carry over into how we look at our teammates, how we serve our community, how we approach our education and being grateful for all those things,” Powell said.
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