Christmas is a time to give back and help those in need.

And this year’s annual Goodfellows program coordinated by the Hastings Tribune is in full swing after the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, forced a few changes in 2020.

The Hastings College men’s basketball team wanted to help the campaign and assist with filling the boxes this year.

On Tuesday afternoon, team members helped at the Adams County Fairgrounds, where boxes of food and toys are being prepared for a total of 245 Hastings area households.

“It is really nice to give back to people in need,” said sophomore guard Grady Corrigan of Bennington. “I’m grateful to have many good things in my life so I could say that I’m one of the lucky ones, but to help give back to people who are in need, I’m proud to help contribute and to volunteer my time to help others. It feels great, and this is what this season is all about — helping others.”

“It feels awesome being able to help with something that is higher than yourself and to help people that are less fortunate than you are,” said sophomore guard Cole Christensen of Creede, Colorado. “It is awesome to help someone have a great Christmas. It means so much to make sure that everyone has a great Christmas because you have a great Christmas. It teaches us that there are a lot of people out in the world, and giving is one of the greatest gifts you can give.”

Hastings College head coach Bill Gavers and assistant head coach Brady Barrett both spent about four hours helping put food in boxes Tuesday at the fairgrounds.

Gavers said it was nice to his players coming out to help with Goodfellows, as well.

“This is awesome to see. Seeing these guys help give back to a great cause is something to be proud of,” Gavers said. “It is great to give back because some of us don’t know how fortunate some of us are. I wish the guys would be able to be here when the families get here to receive these boxes, but the guys understand what they’re doing is really about, and that is giving back and providing joy to people that need a little joy and to make sure that they have a great Christmas.

Later Tuesday evening about 25 members of the Hastings TeamMates program helped to finish putting the food in the boxes along with employees from Lutz accounting and financial services and the Conway, Pauley and Johnson law firm.

Now that the food is in the boxes, Goodfellows volunteers will put toys in them Wednesday.

The Tribune has coordinated the charitable Goodfellows program since 1926. Boxes of food and toys will be picked up by families Thursday and Friday, and the boxes that remain will be delivered to homes Saturday morning.

Donations to Goodfellows are being accepted at the Tribune office, 908 W. Second St.; by mail at P.O. Box 788, Hastings, NE 68902; or online at hastingstribune.com/goodfellows.

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