The Chiawana softball team doesn't start practicing for the upcoming season until February, but the Riverhawks have come together off the field for a good cause.
Ahead of the holidays, senior infielder Danielle Sanaski has coordinated a gift drive for two area families through the Salvation Army. She got the idea from her mother, who manages a Tri-City OB-GYN practice and has been part of a similar effort through her business.
"I decided my team should do it because we're all a family," Sanaski said. "I've always been taught to give back. You've got to give back what you receive. My family's given me everything, so I've decided to give back to families in need."
Sanaski talked to her coaches and teammates about her idea, and they wholeheartedly embraced it. They will buy gifts for members of the two families, come together to wrap them and then distribute the presents Dec. 14.
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Head coach Paul Antonovich can't make it because he's a trainer for the Chiawana basketball teams, but he and his family plan to donate Walmart gift cards for food.
"Danielle called me, and everybody met, and they were excited," Antonovich said. "That's a pretty neat thing to do for somebody else."
Sanaski and teammate Melanie Cantu have been texting back and forth with the rest of the Riverhawks to make sure everything remains on schedule.
"I was watching a TV show where they helped with a soup kitchen, and no other team has really done that, so I thought it would be a cool idea," Sanaski said. "Hopefully it sticks and they'll do it next year as well."