Sacramento Republic FC kicked off Thanksgiving week on Sunday evening as they hosted an early turkey day dinner for families of Street Soccer USA Sacramento, a Glory Glory Sacramento Fund grant recipient.
On Sunday, more than 35 guests receiving services from Sacramento Street Soccer USA and Sister Nora’s Place enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal prepared by Republic FC staff members, complete with several turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pie.
The event was a rare opportunity that provided space for Street Soccer USA families to spend time together off the pitch, explained Street Soccer USA Sacramento Executive Director Lisa Wrightsman, who noted that the program does not have a space to host gatherings for families.
“Families were united and memories made tonight that wouldn’t have otherwise happened,” wrote Street Soccer USA Sacramento on Facebook. “We appreciate the time and effort that your staff put into providing a real Thanksgiving dinner to our family and friends at Sister Nora’s.”
Raley’s and Bel Air donated the turkeys and other goods, while other Thanksgiving sides and desserts were homemade by Republic FC staff. Midfielder Danny Barrera and goalkeeper Evan Newton helped serve the meal, as well as spent time playing games with children and getting to know the participants in Street Soccer USA.
In Sacramento, Street Soccer USA provides a variety of services to at-risk and vulnerable populations, most recently hosting their first-ever Street Soccer USA Youth event, SSUA Oak Park Showcase, in partnership with WayUp Sacramento and City Councilman Jay Schenirer, and Oak Park Community centers.
“Street Soccer USA’s goal is to fight and empower underserved communities through soccer,” said Wrightsman.
The core of Street Soccer USA Sacramento’s mission concentrates on helping homeless men, women and youth through sports-based programming and solutions to fight homelessness throughout the Sacramento region.
The program focuses on engaging one of Sacramento’s most underserved populations (i.e. youth, men and women experiencing homelessness, or in a cycle of addiction, domestic violence, mental illness) using soccer to help these vulnerable individuals develop critical life skills.
Using the beautiful game, Street Soccer USA helps individuals learn to be on a team, build trust, support others, be part of a community and practice goal setting. Ultimately, the program guides their members to use these life skills to help them overcome the cycle of homelessness and assist with furthering education, employment, housing and good health.