BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — The Clifton Park Girls Travel Basketball program took a time out from pounding the hardwood in both the CYO and Capital District leagues and teamed up March 16 to host its second annual spaghetti dinner at the Shenendehowa Adult Community Center.
“It’s a good opportunity for the girls to give back and interact and converse with senior citizens,” organizer and board member Stacey Carey said. “Last year — the first year — I didn’t know how the girls would react, but they really stepped up to the occasion.”
Carey’s daughter Brianna is a fourth-grader who plays point guard on the fifth and sixth grade team. Brianna’s father, Matt, is the coach.
The girls — clad in their green shooting shirts — dished out plates of pasta topped with tomato sauce and large meatballs to 100 seniors. They also assisted diners with anything else that they needed.
The players ranged in age from third grade all the way up to the high school level. The younger girls were responsible for setting tables, mixing salads in bowls and putting bread in baskets. The brunt of the waitressing went to those who no longer attend Shenendehowa’s several elementary schools.
The food was donated by various businesses and individuals. The main course — spaghetti and meatballs — was provided by Halfmoon Diner; Olive Garden contributed salad; the Clifton Park Hannaford donated the bread; beverages came from Gary Watrobski, a board member and parent; and the Happy St. Patrick’s Day marble sheet cake came from Dolce and Biscotti Italian Bakery.
This isn’t the first act of community service the girls travel basketball teams have participated in. At Thanksgiving, they prepared baskets of goodies for CAPTAIN. They also headed to High Five Sports and worked with children who have special needs, sharing their basketball skills.
Spaghetti was slurped, the cake was cut and both the girls and the seniors were smiling.
“Our kids are very blessed, and it’s important to instill they need to give back and make a difference,” Carey said. “This is our signature event. I like seeing it all come together.”