By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Give 20 Auburn baseball players an assignment, and a job that usually takes about two hours is done in 45 minutes.
The Tigers packed more than 1,200 bags of food Thursday at Auburn Arena for the Jason Dufner Foundation.
The bags, containing crackers, juice and canned food, provide supplemental weekend meals to elementary school children in Lee County who qualify for free and reduced lunches during the week.
“I thought our guys attacked it,” coach Butch Thompson said.
“As a baseball program, we’re getting started and everybody’s so excited about a new school year,” he said. “Getting started in our classes. Starting our workouts. We’re lifting weights and we’re running. But we have to understand, there’s so many different phases to what we do and what we’re trying to teach, and how we’re trying to grow our men. And what a great opportunity for us to give back. That was one of our goals: How can we give back in our first week being back in school?”
Thompson, in his second season, said the chance to serve highlighted a productive first week of workouts.
“Not only did we get bigger, faster, stronger, but our ability to be stewards and give back is all part of the experience for us,” he said.
Ace pitcher Keegan Thompson agreed.
“It’s just nice to give back,” Keegan said. “Here at Auburn, we’re known as a family, and it’s nice to give back to people in our community. It’s very rewarding for us and our team.”
In 2014, Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs designated ending child hunger as the priority outreach initiative for Auburn Athletics.
The Dufner Foundation purchases and distributes the food. Auburn student-athletes pack the bags.
Jason Dufner, a former Auburn golfer and 4-time PGA Tour winner, will be holding his annual golf tournament in Auburn on October 21st. PGA Tour players will include Charley Hoffman, Matt Every and Pat Perez, along with former player Steve Elkington.
Those interested in taking part can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m thankful to Jason Dufner for what he means to Auburn University,” Butch Thompson said. “For his foundation to be so committed to this cause.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer