There was something special in store for Kristin Cockerill this week. Working in the store at the Siloam Mission.
Cockerill and her University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey teammates have been volunteering at the Mission during the past week.
It is the eighth straight year athletes from all of the Bisons sports programs have volunteered at Siloam while on a break from classes during the holiday season.
About 80 athletes worked in shifts, helping prepare and serve meals during the past week.
Cockerill, the student co-ordinator for the Bisons volunteer program, has donated her time the past four years, but this time was different.
"I got to work in the clothing store for the first time," said Cockerill, a regular Siloam volunteer in addition to the Bisons program.
"I had a chance to help patrons find warm clothes, boots, jackets. I was super appreciative that I got to be in there. It was awesome."
The store is stocked with donated items and patrons can obtain whatever they need at no charge.
"Siloam makes sure there is a lot of dignity involved in everything they do. Everything is organized exactly like any other store," said Cockerill, a fourth-year forward. "I was able to help people with sizes and styles and if something they're looking for isn't there, we'll run down to the basement and see if we can find it."
Cockerill said Siloam is both heaven and a haven to the patrons who otherwise likely would not have a hot meal or a warm coat.
"It's a very meaningful place to spend my time and effort to give back to the community," she said. "I've met so many great people and it's so lively and energetic there."
She said the Bisons athletes have a chance to see how Siloam serves the body and the spirit of the patrons.
"It's more than just food and clothes, it's having a place that's homey for them to come to," she said. "People can come there, be welcomed, it's a really special place. Every time I go there, I see people I recognize and I can chat with them. It's so good to see them flourishing with the support they're getting at Siloam."
Cockerill and the Bisons haven't forgotten that they are part of a community that they can help improve.
"We're so fortunate as student athletes, we get to do something we love every day and go to school. It's a unique lifestyle that not a lot of people get a chance to experience so it's very important that we give back to the community any way we can, both to appreciate and to gain perspective," she said.
"We can get caught up in basing the value of things on wins and losses but there's so much more going on in the world.
"Once you get to see Siloam and (get) a more real-life point of view, it's really special. It's important for us to see that we can make a difference."
Here at the Winnipeg Free Press sports department, we also want to help make a difference in our community.
We support the Christmas Cheer Board with our Spirit of Christmas fund. We're asking for your help to make a donation that will assist in filling hampers for less fortunate individuals and families during this most wonderful time of the year.
Please send your donations to The Spirit of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6. Here are this week's contributors:
They have the Spirit:
Patrick & Clarice Matthews$150.00
In memory of Allan & Bea McLennan
Mrs. S. Wood$15.00
Khartum Shriners Past Masters Club$100.00
Coughlin & Associates Ltd.$250.00
Mrs. Shelby Flood$100.00
In memory of Wayne Hallonquist$50.00
Khartum Temple Arabian Horse Guard$145.00
In memory of Jerry Kruk &$100.00
In memory of Fred Anderson$100.00
S. & J. Nicol$50.00
In memory of Bert & Eloise Patterson$25.00
In memory of Bernice Tough$100.00
K. D. & Patricia McColl$30.00
L. J. Frankenberger$150.00
Ladies of Rossmere 60 Plus$50.00
In memory of Stephen Lys$50.00
Thos G. B. Sykes$100.00
Blackburn & Kulczycki Family$25.00
J. Spence Shiach$50.00
In memory of Friends$250.00
Edith E. Ruddock$50.00
In memory of George Proctor$30.00
Betty L. Nesbitt$50.00
Ronald R. R. Robinson,$300.00
D. E. Carruthers$100.00
Mary & Ken Hurst$100.00
George & Grace Lintick$125.00
In memory of Helen & Tony Reelfs$50.00
In Memory of Leif Thomas McLure$100.00
Ms. S. Schwark$50.00
Anny & Hugo Veldhuis$100.00
J. Laurie Johnston$100.00
Colorado Estates Tenants Assoc.$200.00
In memory of Nick & Mary Chliboyko$100.00
In memory of B.D. (Buck) & Eva Hay$200.00
In memory of Betty & Stewart$100.00
Bill & Jean Leanders$25.00
Keith & Olga McNamee$50.00
In memory of Doris & Bud Foster$100.00
Carolyn & Claude Wilson$100.00
In memory of Gil Savoie$25.00
Norma G. Thorkelsson$25.00
In memory of Charles N. Morrison$200.00
In memory of Ken Ingram$25.00
Geraldine & Gordon Moodie$100.00
Geertrui C. Oliver$200.00
Marie & Fred Kork$25.00
Marie & Fred Kork$25.00
In memory of Kristen Holland$10.00
In memory of Touring All-Stars$20.00
Larry Martin & Min Nakano
In memory of Trevor & Maisie Morgan$20.00
In memory of Kiewel Seals,$20.00
Lorne Jasper & Jack Latter
T. Kent Morgan$30.00
In memory of Beryl Thompson$100.00
In memory of George &$50.00
In memory of Cory Anderson$50.00
In memory of Doug & Edie McMurray$50.00
Alexander Marketing Group Inc.$100.00
In memory of Gordon Halpenny$25.00
In memory of Tim & Suse Griffiths$50.00
In memory of Cliff$35.00
Jerry & June Trueman$100.00
In memory of Blake Batchelor$100.00
George & Avis Barnet$100.00
Khartum Ladies' Auxiliary$290.00
In memory of Helen Jones$50.00
Brian Kelsch & Family$100.00
Honouring Bruce & Pat McBeth$300.00
From Patti & Guy
Bill & Sherron McLean$50.00
Thelma J. Paterson$50.00
In memory of Cora Stevens$25.00
In memory of Gertrude Stevens$25.00
In memory of John & Mary Golovitch$100.00
In memory of Rennie & Angie Stopchycki$100.00
Anonymous (six donations)$2,750.00
Today's Total: $12,240.00Previous total$11,370.75
Grand Total: $23,610.75