Real Salt Lake in the Community continued their commitment to the Utah Food Bank’s Mobile School Pantry at Midvale Elementary on May 10. RSL front office members were joined by first team players Tate Schmitt, Justen Glad, Andrew Brody, Damir Kreilach, Zac MacMath, Zack Farnsworth, Erik Holt and their significant others in assisting the pantry.
The Mobile School Pantry Program provides free meals to families whose children attend the school once a month. RSL defender Marcelo Silva started the initiative of going to Midvale Elementary two years ago and the club has since visited the school numerous times to give back.
“It’s an honor to be part of this cause,” said Silva. “ I see all that needs to be done and I felt like I needed to do my part.”
Most recently this past Tuesday, the players and staff helped set up the drive and then handed out free meals and books to students at the end of their school day.
“It means everything,” said Midvale Elementary Principal Lori Reynolds. "Our community is just like soccer, soccer, soccer. You go out on the playground. That's what the kids are playing. And they're star struck and to have the RSL players doing such service and showing the kids that they're heroes off the field. It means everything to us.”
Midvale Elementary is located less than three miles from Rio Tinto Stadium, and Hayed Franco, a parent of two students at Midvale Elementary, spoke of why it’s important for the students to see RSL players give back.
“I think for kids in this community it’s not common to see successful athletes giving back,” said Franco. “It’s a great privilege and opportunity for our students to see success in the athletic world.”
Midvale Elementary is a Title I school which means that it serves students from low-income families of 40 percent or more. The Mobile School Pantry aims to help elevate the struggles that Title I school students and their families may face when it comes to childhood hunger.
RSL defender Andrew Brody, who recently received a contract extension with the club, was one of the players who handed the bags of food to the students as they got out of school.
“It’s super special to come here and give back,” said Brody. “We learned that 90% of the students are on free or reduced lunch so to be able to help these children in need is amazing.”
Additionally, MacMath provided 430 free tickets to Midvale Elementary students and their families for RSL’s next home match against Austin FC on May 14. The students and their families will be able to enjoy the match from Kreilach’s Corner in Rio Tinto Stadium.
MacMath participated in Midvale Elementary’s Read Across America day two months ago, and spoke to Kyle Schroeder, RSL’s Director of Community and Player Engagement, about how he wanted to help get these students to a game.
“It should be a great experience for the kids,” said MacMath. “Anytime we can give back to the community is great. There’s a lot of underprivileged kids in this area especially and we really want to help them out as much as we can.”