UNSUNG HERO: Thompsonville high school basketball help food pant - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: Thompsonville high school basketball help food pantry

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THOMPSONVILLE -- In this week's Unsung Hero, one Franklin County high school basketball team is getting high honors on and off the court. 

It's been a record-breaking year for the Thompsonville Tigers.    

"They've set a number of firsts, first team to go undefeated at home, first team to win the conference," said principal and assistant basketball coach John Robinson.

Right now, the high school basketball team is 30 and 2.

"We all know how we play. We've been around each other for a very long time," said senior and point guard Tyson Kessler.     

Tyson said the fans have been right there with them showing support the whole season.

"So we figured since they do that for us, that we'd come up here and help out with the community," added junior Corbin Fitch.     

As a way to say thank you, the entire team, all 20, volunteered their time to help out the Community of Christ Church's food pantry after one of their games was snowed out.

"Give a couple hours back and it makes you feel good and helps others feel good because they got what they needed," said Corbin. 

"It was wonderful and the clients loved having these young men," added pantry coordinator Ann Schwengel.  

Once a month, the church opens its gym to serve about 200 families. They each take home a box full of food and toiletries.

"We just carried it out to their vehicles and loaded them and brought the boxes back in," said Tyson. 

"They also got the frozen foods from the freezer and kept that supplied. They mopped the gym floor. They put away food at the end. They did it all," added Ann. 

Ann said the church doesn't always have a lot of volunteers and many of the clients struggle to carry the boxes on their own. 

"We really need some good examples of young people today doing good things and I think they set a fine example for other young people to follow," said Ann. 

Principal Robinson said witnessing a pantry-day first-hand was eye-opening for his team.

"We've got it a lot easier than we think," said Tyson.

"Yeah, for sure," added Corbin. 

"Those kind of life lessons are far more important than even basketball life lessons," said Principal Robinson. 

He said he hopes to bring the boys back once the season is over and plans to have future teams involved.

Ann said students already help during their lunch break on a delivery day when the Saint Louis Area Food Bank brings all the food. But she plans to visit the school to speak with faculty in hopes to have more school-led organizations and clubs help on pantry days.

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