The Fordham University men’s basketball team ends each holiday season with its cherished tradition at St. Barnabas Hospital.
The feast of Three Kings Day, on January 6, is a celebration of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to baby Jesus the night that he was born. The feast is considered the end to the Christmas season. For the last six years, the men’s basketball team at Fordham University have honored the holiday by bringing gifts to the children at St. Barnabas Hospital.
The event took place on Monday, January 10 after snow had postponed the original date of Friday, January 7. All 15 players on the Fordham University men’s basketball team were present to hand boys and girls of all ages a gift and signed posters of the team. Team head coach Tom Pecora, only in his first season with the Fordham Rams, eagerly embraced the Fordham tradition and message.
“Fordham University has always been involved in community outreach and the school looks forward to this every year,” Pecora said. “Bringing these children presents and putting smiles on their faces is something very important to the players. It’s our job to teach them to be educators and give back to the community.”
Every year the team is able to give presents to different children. Not only are the children happy to see these big, strong athletes, but the family members of these children are extremely excited and grateful for the university’s generous donation. After the children opened their gifts, the players walked around and playfully interacted with all of them.
The hospital staff is also extremely happy with the work they are able to do with the Fordham University athletic program. Patricia Belair, senior vice president of ambulatory care at St. Barnabas Hospital, runs the gift giving program at the hospital. Every year it is an absolute joy for her to put together such an event at the hospital.
“We really are so grateful here at the hospital for the time that these athletes take to come every year,” Belair said. “It’s so nice to see the basketball players really show that they care by interacting with all of the kids. It means a lot to us that these athletes enjoy giving back to Fordham’s surrounding community.”
They plan to keep this tradition alive for years to come.