Aislinn and Abby Frazer were tired of sitting around watching other kids run. Such is life when your mom is the longtime Nassau girls indoor track and field coordinator.
They needed something to do and one day, while sitting in church, they found it.
"They talked about how their shelves were really empty," Aislinn recalled of that faraway Sunday at St. Frances de Chantal Church in Wantagh. "Me and my sister just turned to our mom and said ‘we have to help out.’ So, we donated some stuff that we found in our own pantry and then we decided ‘hey, if we’re going to be [at meets] anyway, we might as well ask the athletes if they can donate as well."
And it began, just like that. Now in its fifth year, the Frazer sisters, who now run at Friends Academy, spend the Nassau championship meets collecting canned foods and other supplies from athletes and coaches. This year, they donated the goods to the Mother and Child Ministry at St. Michael & All Angels Church in Seaford.
All told, the sisters donated more than 410 items and eight bags of clothes. They also received $320 in cash donations, which they used to purchase baby formula, diapers, deodorant, snacks for kids to take to school and pancake mix.
"It’s just a really rewarding feeling to get to see all the food on the shelves and to know that wouldn’t have been there without you," said Abby Frazer, an eighth grader.
Abby said they were surprised at the success of this year’s drive, especially after last year’s indoor county championship meets weren’t held because of the pandemic. But thanks to emails that went out prior to the championship meets, the donations came back in full force.
"People realize that, in COVID, a lot of people are having really hard times," Abby said. "People need it now more than ever."
Only a freshman, Aislinn Frazer is one of the best distance runners in Nassau. She won the 3,000 meters in 10 minutes, 39.12 seconds at the Nassau state qualifier last week. She also won the Nassau Class C title in the same event the week before in 11:16.98. Both girls were on the Friends Academy 4 x 800-meter relay team that won the Class C championship in 10:38.44.
The Class C championships were competed on the Monday of ‘Championship Week’ in Nassau. When the larger classes competed on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Frazers were there in their familiar role, collecting goods and trying to help whomever they can.
"It is something more productive than just sitting around," Aislinn Frazer said. "Obviously, me and my sister are competing this year, so it’s a little different than just sitting around. But, it also just feels good to be able to give back to my community and to the people that are less fortunate than I am."