The athletic department is sponsoring a community-wide food drive to supply the Good Shepherd Mission with various canned goods and non-perishable items. “It’s our third year to do the food drive,” said Chris Thompson, assistant athletic director for academic services. Thompson said the basketball, football and volleyball teams are competing against one another to see which team can donate the most items. “The teams are also challenging the community to donate food,” said Thompson. “They [the teams] are also asking their parents to donate.”Thompson said there would be nicely decorated collection boxes sitting outside the admissions gate of each game. She said there were donation containers at the women’s volleyball game on Tuesday and the men’s basketball game yesterday. There will also be donation containers at the women’s basketball game on Saturday and the Bearkat football game on Nov. 23. “People can drop donations off at the Athletic Department, First National Bank or at the games,” she said. Thompson said the team members are glad to contribute to the community. “These kids want to give back to the community, and they want to show people that they are human beings just like everybody else,” said Thompson. “They also enjoy serving the youth of Huntsville.””The food drive is good for those people who don’t have food,” said Daniel Hillis, freshman football player. “It’s also a good way to help the SHSU athletic department to get on the good side of the public because we’re doing this for a good cause.”The Good Shepherd Mission expressed its appreciation for the food drive. “I’m very optimistic about the food drive this year, and I’m even more optimistic about the SHSU basketball team,” said Rev. David Smith, director of the Good Shepherd Mission. Smith said the food drive was initiated when he volunteered to be a chaplain with the athletic department. “I got to know them [the team members] by working out with them and developing relationships with them,” said Smith. He said different team members would come to the mission to volunteer, and they suggested that the athletic department initiate a food drive. “We’re glad to do anything to raise public awareness of the needs of the community,” said Smith. Thompson said the food drive is starting off slowly, but she is optimistic that there will be more participation. “We had two pickup trucks full of food last year, and we are hoping for more this year,” said Thompson.Smith said anyone who would like to know more about the Good Shepherd Mission should visit the mission’s Web site at http://www.walkercountyonline.com/org/mission/ or call 291-8156.