DePaul women to help tornado victims, children with toy drive

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The DePaul women’s basketball team is joining the ranks of those helping the victims of the Nov. 17 tornadoes in Central Illinois as well as needy local children for Christmas.

The team will conduct a toy drive on Saturday when they host rival Loyola at McGrath-Phillips Arena at 7 p.m. and again on Dec. 12 when they host No. 5 Kentucky at 6 p.m. Fans are asked to donate unwrapped toys or games for children aged 3 to 5.The donation box also will be open in the lobby of the Sullivan Athletic Center, 2323 N. Sheffield, on non-game days until Dec. 16.

The team will distribute the toys to 126 pre-school children at the St. Vincent de Paul Center and to tornado victims after its Dec. 16 game against Dartmouth.

“Our women’s basketball program focuses on academics and the Vincentian spirit of service as well as basketball,” coach Doug Bruno said. “To us, academics and community service are just as important as winning basketball games.

“We hope to brighten up the Christmas season for the children at the St. Vincent de Paul Center and for the families recovering from that horrific tornado. We are constantly looking for ways to be of service to our fellow Chicagoans, and the toy drive presents a great opportunity to serve the community.”

The idea for a toy drive came from assistant coach Jill Pizzotti, who held one while she was head coach at Saint Louis.

Last season, the team helped assistant coach Bart Brooks and his wife Charlene collect toys for a needy family in Rogers Park. Charlene Brooks played for Bruno from 2002-05 and is now a social worker.

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