Extra Effort: Better Late Than Never, PND Girls Deliver For Christmas

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — It’s one of the favorite days of the year for the Notre Dame Irish.

“We turn on music, wrap the gifts. We had practice this morning, then we do this,” said senior Clare Deiters.

Deiters is talking about her team’s Christmas project. Getting gifts for about 75 families in Peoria.

Coats, gloves, hats, shoes, hand sanitizer and, yes, toys for children who need a helping this winter. Gifts purchased by the players and wrapped by high school basketball team.

“They may not get Christmas presents like we do,” Deiters said of the kids who will receiver the gifts. “It’s important that they have winter coats. We get them lotion, hand sanitizer, stuff like that. Christmas has passed but they’ll still enjoy opening these presents.”

The Irish have been doing this project for a couple years.

“It feels good giving, rather than receiving. It’s how I am,” said senior Jackie Luong. “Even with my family, it’s always nice getting a reaction.”

This annual team Christmas shopping spree and wrapping party almost didn’t happen. It was scheduled to take place two weeks ago.

Then some players tested positive for COVID, forcing the Irish cancel practice time and games. But they didn’t forget about this project.

And when they returned from quarantine, the players immediately asked if they could resurrect the project, even if it means presents would be delivered in early January.

“The kids still wanted to do this. The kids were not going to let the circumstances stop us,” said Notre Dame coach Layne Langholf. “There’s so many kids and families that had stuff taken away from them the last couple years. This was something they were persistent about and we will help them make it happen.”

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