Hope meets hockey: Royals players on mission to help others

Team members dish out meals at Hope Rescue Mission

Video report by WFMZ's Jim Vasil

READING, Pa. - Volunteers at the Hope Rescue Mission in Reading know they're trying to take a city struggling with homelessness and give hope.

"Even those of us who work here, you find out that every day you're humbled a little bit by something that happens here," said Angela Haring, a case worker at the Hope Rescue Mission.

On Monday, hope met with hockey. Instead of dishing pucks across the ice, the Reading Royals dished out nearly 200 meals.

"I think, as a professional athlete, you have such a platform to give back to your community," said Derek Whitmore, the Royals' captain.

"The list goes up in the dressing room to do volunteers, and it's usually filled up within a day, so it's never a problem to get guys out here," said Royals center Mark Bennett.

Minor league hockey players tend to move all over the place, and along the way, do some good, like Bennett, who got his start three years ago with a team in Elmira, New York.

"I volunteered a lot with the school, reading with some kids that were kind of struggling. I was happy to do that," Bennett said. "This year, I was in Oklahoma before I came here, and we did something similar to this, where we help prepare and serve food to the less fortunate."

Whitmore said the Royals are part of the community, and giving back is meaningful.

"We have that opportunity. We have that platform to be a little bit of a celebrity in a small community, and people know who we are, so when you get to convey yourself in a different light and in that positive light, it goes a long way," Whitmore said.

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