Last Saturday, members of the Fordham University football squad traded in their receiving and blocking gloves for a pair of garden gloves as they helped clean out a garden area at St. Martin of Tours in the Bronx that will be converted into a prayer garden for members of the community.
The community service project was arranged by assistant coach Shane Fogarty, who is in charge of the football squad's community service initiatives and is the liaison between the team and Campus Ministry. He stopped by the Campus Ministry office to check and see if there were any projects that needed some assistance and his timing was perfect as Gil Severiano, Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Vice President for Campus Ministry, mentioned the garden plan at St. Martin of Tours.
"She asked if we could supply 10 or 15 players," said Fogarty. "But I said why not 25? Since each player is required to work on two community service projects a semester, I had plenty of willing participants."
St. Martin of Tours pastor, Fr. Cosme Fernandez, welcomed the group to the church and spoke about what it will mean to the community to have a nice, quiet prayer garden where people can go and reflect.
Then it was time to get to work as the Rams spent the morning working with other Fordham students in clearing out old bushes and weeds that had been growing in the garden behind the church. Some of the older bushes required a little "persuasion" to remove, which the football Rams were more than happy to provide with the swing of a shovel or pick or with just some good old fashioned elbow grease. Others members of the team were responsible for replanting new vegetation and flowers.
After about four hours, assorted new flowers and plants were placed in the ground and the garden area was cleared of all the old bushes and is now ready for Bulfamante & Sons Landscaping, who is donating their services, to come in and construct a new prayer garden for the parish.
A few members of the team also assisted the church by providing muscle on a different project, removing furniture from the former elementary school behind the church.
This is just one of the many community service projects that Fordham student-athletes have been involved with over the past two weeks, which included the baseball team raising over $4,000 to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, the men's and women's soccer squads hosting a free soccer clinic for the South Bronx United Soccer Club on Murphy Field, and all Fordham student-athletes participating in the "Reps for Kids" Charity event, which will take place on Thursday.