The Valparaiso men's soccer program raised nearly $4,000 at its game against Michigan on Sept. 1 for St. Lucian reggae artist Taj Weekes' children's charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO), in its kickoff of the "Sneakers Not Wheelchairs" campaign to help target the diabetes crisis in St. Lucia.
"It is an enriching and pleasing experience to have partnered with such a wonderful organization in Valpo men's soccer," said Weekes. "It is quite heartening to see such an outpouring of support from the students and general public towards this effort."
The Crusaders received a generous donation of $2,000 from the Porter County Foundation to kick off their fundraising efforts. They waived the admission charge for the match against the Wolverines and raised about $1,600 more at the gate, along with pledged donations that continue to come in from fans who were unable to attend the game. The men's soccer program, which also collected a good amount of used soccer gear to ship to St. Lucia, will continue to accept donations all season long towards the campaign.
"We are very excited that we were able to attract a record crowd for our home match against Michigan, and more importantly, that we were able to raise nearly $4,000 for TOCO, along with a number of used soccer items that we will be sending to them," said Crusader head coach Mike Avery. "This is a great cause, and it is heartwarming to see the Valparaiso community come out and show such tremendous support. Taj Weekes and TOCO are doing important work, and we are thrilled to play even a small part in that."