Did you know that the Lou’s Lads Foundation is hosting a Reunion Brunch with former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz during the Notre Dame Fighting Irish home opener weekend? Did you also know that they are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the 1988 Championship Team that weekend? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you’d be absolutely right.
If you’ve never been to a Lou’s Lads Foundation (LLF) event with Coach Holtz, it is nothing short of spectacular. To start things off the lads get up and talk, sharing with the crowd what the foundation has accomplished over the past year, and what is ahead on the horizon. Then, they sidetrack into the telling of stories about their experiences with Coach (most of them drawing much laughter from the crowd, and Coach, too). And then, Coach Holtz himself gets up and addresses the crowd.
This year, to honor Coach Holtz’s request that the lads perform community service projects each year, they are going to host an additional Lou’s Lads - Bread of Life Food Drive at their reunion brunch. Those who are attending the event are asked to bring non-perishable food items to the event. There will be BOLD collection boxes the day of the event at the Monogram Club.
How did the lads choose the Bread of Life Food Drive you ask? At the National Championship Game in January of 2013, Coach Holtz challenged his “Lou’s Lads” to have their foundation become involved with a community service project, something that would “give-back” to people in need. Coach Holtz thanked his players for their generous donations to the Lou’s Lads Foundation Scholarship Fund, but challenged them to move forward with a community service project. Randy Kinder, former Notre Dame running back from 1993-1996, and member of the LLF Board of Directors, accepted Coach Holtz’s challenge and suggested to Coach Holtz and the LLF board that they join forces with the annual Notre Dame Bread of Life Food Drive, which had been conducted since 1992 by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Staten Island.
Kinder invited Joe Delaney, Director of the ND Bread of Life Food Drive on Staten Island, to make a proposal to the LLF at the board’s September Meeting. The proposal was approved and in the spring of 2014, the ND Bread of Life Food Drive went national with the help of Lou’s lads. In that first year, the ND Bread of Life /Lou’s Lads Food Drive was held in 13 states, 34 cities, and collected 225,000 items of food which were donated to food banks and agencies that serve people in need.
Here is a look at the growth of the ND Bread of Life Food Drive over the next 4 years:
2015 — 25 States, 6 Countries,104 Cities, 250,000 items of food collected
2016 –26 States, 156 Cities, 6 Countries, 300,000 items of food collected
2017– 27 States, 191 Cities, 6 Countries, 310,000 items of food collected
2018 — 27 States, 210 Cities, 7 Countries, 317,000 items of food collected
Total items of food collected in five years by the ND Bread of Life Lou’s Lads Food Drive– 1,402,000!
Can’t make it to campus for the brunch or the game this year? Former Notre Dame Football player, and 1988 team member Billy Hackett has a way for you to get involved from your very own community. Billy’s charge is as follows: “Collect non-perishable can food items and donate them to your local food pantry or shelter. Please take photos or video of you and your family making the donation and post them on this page. This portion of the food drive will end September 1st prior to the game against the Michigan Wolverines. Please make sure you have your ND shirt, pants, helmets etc. on when making your donations. Let’s show the ND community that we are strong and together on social media. All folks making donations will be noted. All photos will be presented to Coach Holtz on September 1st at the 2018 LLF Reunion Brunch.” Post your donation photos here so that they may be presented to Coach Holtz at brunch.
It has been an honor for me, over the last five years, to get to know Coach Holtz and become involved in the Lou’s Lads Foundation. The work the lads do in their communities above and beyond these food drives is truly inspirational, and I am pleased to say that every year I co-host a Bread of Life Food Drive in my community with one of Lou’s Lads.
The Notre Dame Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive now beckons us to help someone else in need. That someone in need may just be your neighbor.
Cheers & GO IRISH!