Back-to-school time is fast approaching, and for kids all over that means it’s time to go shopping for clothes and school supplies. Unfortunately, many kids don’t have the resources to get everything they need.
One Husker is trying to do something about that.
Last week, sophomore guard Thomas Allen announced a back to school drive for Everett Elementary School, a kindergarten to fifth grade Title 1 school less than five miles from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.
The drive will take place on Saturday at Grace Chapel (1345 S. 16th Street) from 9 a.m. to noon. Allen is seeking both school supplies and clothing for all ages.
Next Week August 4. If you have any thing you want to donate @ me or dm me! Mainly need school items. Husker Athletes if you have any gear you don’t want male or female hit me up. Come Support.. everything is appreciated 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/rJKVbqDG7t
— Thomas Allen (@ThomasAllen5_) July 23, 2018
“I was in my room just planning everything out,” Allen said. “I didn’t know how to set everything up, because the college stuff and violations and things like that. I talked to Coach E (director of basketball operations Gregory Eaton) about setting it up and then I went over to compliance. I set everything up and then I tweeted it out.”
Why did he choose Everett?
“At first I was on the Internet, just looking at the schools around here that needed help with Title 1 and stuff like that,” Allen said. “But Coach Eaton, his church is like a block away from the school so it was a nice fit.”
Allen’s tweet has been up for a week now and he’s already received a significant response.
“I’ve been a little surprised about how many people want to help,” Allen said. “That’s been fun. Somebody tweeted me today, Miss Robin Lowe.”
We’re collecting items at Country Swim School to bring in on Saturday morning. We posted Thomas’ note on our Facebook Page and have had 19 other people share to their pages so far. 🙂 See you on Saturday! pic.twitter.com/E8sHRvBzyT
— Robin Lowe (@h2obabies) July 30, 2018
The women’s soccer team at Nebraska also dropped off a sizable donation for the event.
— Thomas Allen (@ThomasAllen5_) July 28, 2018
Even Allen’s church from back in Raleigh, N.C., caught wind of what he was doing and reached out to donate.
“They texted me this past weekend,” Allen said. “They wanted to send some things, so they sent some things today. That’s cool because my mom, she loves this type of stuff so she shared it on her page and they reached out to me.”
This isn’t Allen’s first time participating in fund-raisers for the less fortunate.
“My senior year of high school, I did one,” Allen said. “We had a game with my high school and another high school, and we raised almost 3,000. Then I did something in AAU, we did like a drive as well.”
Why is it important to Allen to make an impact in the Lincoln community?
“The kids here, I know they love the Husker athletes,” Allen said. “Doing it for them means a lot to them. They’re at the games, they see us around, stuff like that. That’s why I’m doing it, for them.”
When he’s not collecting supplies for underprivileged kids, Allen has been hard at work in the gym, re-shaping his body (he said he’s added five pounds of muscle) and polishing his skills.
“Summer’s been going fine,” Allen said. “I’ve been in the weight room heavy, just trying to get everything right with the season coming up …. Right now I’m trying to get my shot off faster. There were some shots last year that I couldn’t get off in time, so that’s what I’ve been working on.”
The Huskers just wrapped up their summer workouts, which provided the returning players a chance to get more familiar with the newcomers. One of those newcomers is freshman Amir Harris, a 6-foot-5 combo-guard from Frederick, Maryland. Allen shared his early impressions of his new backcourt mate.
“Amir, he’s got a lot of energy, a lot of bounce,” Allen said. “The other day, somebody passed him the ball, he came down the lane and yammed on somebody. That was cool.”
With Evan Taylor and Anton Gill moving on after exhausting their eligibility, Allen is poised for a breakout season (just ask Jon Rothstein). However, while the season is still months away, the sophomore guard is already making his presence known away from the court.
Allen said he doesn’t have any goals in mind for the drive. All he wants is for fans to spread the news and show up on Saturday.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.