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March 14, 2014

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Before they hit the track at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships tomorrow, members of the South Carolina track and field team spent time volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday.

After going on a tour of the house, the eight members of the team who are in New Mexico for the championships cooked hash browns, sausage, eggs and some of New Mexico’s signature chilli sauce. The ladies then assembled 120 breakfast burritos for the families to eat.

The Ronald McDonald House of New Mexico provides comfort, care and a home away from home for the families whose children are in medical treatment. The nonprofit organization with eight full-time employees has 30 private rooms to house 30 individual families.

While each Ronald McDonald House around the country is different, the Albuquerque location is fully all-inclusive thanks to community and volunteer support. Their main focus is to get the families to the hospital to be with their child and to make life as easy as possible. Every effort is made to ease the financial burden and to build a community of support during a very difficult time.

“We absolutely could not do this without volunteers like your group,” executive director of the Kristin Rortvedt said. “This really makes all the difference in the world to the families because they come to the kitchen, grab something for breakfast and quickly head over to the hospital. If they’re able to take one of the burritos that you guys made, it starts off their day on the right foot. We are just so grateful that you are here.”

“I had a great time working at the Ronald McDonald House today. Being around kids that have a disability or who are in the hospital with cancer, really touches my heart. I think that there should be a lot more Ronald McDonald Houses around the world,” freshman 4×400-meter relay member Marisa Bellamy said of the day.

The Gamecocks begin competition at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center tomorrow. Sarah Graham hits the track in the first event of the pentathlon at 11:45 a.m. MT, to start the day for South Carolina. Jeannelle Scheper is in the women’s high jump at 3:30 p.m. MT, and the women’s 4×400-meter relay runs in the final event of the championships at 8:20 p.m. MT.