by Cassie Mattia

Loveland, Ohio – The COVID-19 pandemic has effected many across Ohio including those involved in Loveland’s elite kids’ sports programs. A local soccer group by the name of “Loveland Storm FC” has become very familiar with the obstacles COVID-19 has created many of the obstacles coming right before their Spring soccer season.

Due to the pandemic Loveland Storm FC had no choice but to cancel their Spring soccer season. Because of the season cancellation, the local soccer program quickly recognized that their financial outlook was troubling because they had already made investments before COVID-19 made itself known. On top of the prior investments, Loveland Storm FC  also felt a strong obligation to return the downpayment parents had already made for the spring season registration. At the same time, the Storm did not want to totally bankrupt the youth soccer program.

In order to help out the Loveland Storm FC soccer program and get the community involved the decision was made to hold a Virtual 5k Walk/Run Fundraiser with donations going towards the soccer program. Although the Loveland Storm absolutely wanted the community involved in the Virtual 5k Walk/Run the soccer program also wanted to be sure that the way they asked the community for help was done in the right way especially with so much economic hardship present due to the pandemic.

Local mother and Loveland community advocate, Libby Westerman, took the time to explain to us and our many readers in the video interview below how the Virtual 5k Walk/Run decisions were made, and how the Loveland Storm FC program’s plan would emphasize the values that they make a top priority. According to the soccer program’s mission statement, the Loveland Storm FC is meant to be a “player-centered, family-friendly, community connected, competitive soccer program that grows players, has fun, and gives back.” The Loveland Storm FC program stands by their mission by asking each team to take on a community service project each season as part of its investment in the community.

After the Virtual 5k Walk/Run was all said and done the Loveland Storm FC program was able to not only refund the money they received for registrations but also give away a doughnut or pizza party to the top teams in the Virtual 5k Walk/Run.

On Friday, August 7th the local soccer program was able to take more of the donations they received from the Virtual 5k Walk/Run and give back to both the Loveland Legacy Foundation and Mile42 Coffee located in Loveland’s Historic Downtown District. The President of the Loveland Youth Soccer Program, Bruce Jones, along with Loveland Storm FC representatives personally presented checks to the Loveland Legacy Foundation and Mile42 Coffee in a special ceremony on Friday, August 7.

The Loveland Legacy Foundation will use their check to support the foundation’s mission which is “the betterment of Loveland, now and in the future.” Mile 42 Coffee plans on using their donation on providing Loveland teachers with free coffee. Loveland teachers will need to present their school I.D to retrieve a 4 dollar credit towards a coffee or specialty drink of their choice.

Katie Butler, the owner of Mile42 Coffee, expressed her gratitude for the donation as well as explained what the coffee shop would be doing with the donated check in the on-camera interview below. You will also witness the check being presented to both Katie and her mother, Jackie Butler!

In the interview below Libby Westerman shares with us how the Virtual 5k Walk/Run came to fruition, why the money was raised by the Loveland Storm FC, and why she wanted herself and her children involved in such a great local sports program!

In the 3rd on-camera interview, we captured on Friday we talked to Steve Max, CeeCee Collins, and Brian Garry, who were representing the Loveland Legacy Foundation, about the donation check and what they would be using the donation for!

For more of Loveland’s latest sports stories stay tuned to the Sports 411 with me, Cassie Mattia!

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Columnist Cassia Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland. She is the Associate Editor of Loveland Magazine.