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Pee Wee hockey players, Rosemount Police, teaming up for tennis shoes

Rosemount Area Hockey Association’s Pee Wee A team raised $1,112 bagging groceries at Cub Foods. They used the money to buy shoes and socks for Rosemount Middle School kids in need. (Submitted photo)

Thanks to a local youth hockey team and the Rosemount Police Department, nearly 50 middle schoolers and high schoolers in Rosemount will be able to sport brand new tennis shoes they otherwise couldn't afford.

This February, Rosemount Area Hockey Association's Pee Wee A team joined officers from the Rosemount Police Department to raise more than $1,112 in donations bagging groceries at the Rosemount Cub Foods.

On March 6, the team members delivered 47 pairs of Nike tennis shoes and 48 pairs of socks to Rosemount Middle School for counselors to hand out to students on an as-needed basis throughout the year.

"The Rosemount community is always so giving to projects that stay local," said Julie Pulkrabek, a detective and former community resource officer for the Rosemount Police Department.

Pee Wee A team manager Lori Kalata organized the community service project after attending a RAHA meeting encouraging volunteerism. Literature provided to coaches and managers encouraged teams to focus on service projects they could do right in their own community, Kalata said.

She said she landed on the idea of donating shoes after Pulkrabek told her about a service project she had launched called Cops for Kids with Kicks.

"Julie said, 'You'd be surprised by how many kids come to school and don't have what they need for proper learning'" Kalata said. "We were just floored."

Kalata also liked the idea of getting the kids involved with police officers in a positive way.

"I just want them to know that police are friendly, so I really jumped on board with that," she said.

Kalata said that although the middle schoolers were hesitant at first, they really stepped up to the task, and they were ecstatic when they learned how much money they had collected just before skating onto the ice for that night's game.

"I think they learned that there's a need in our community and that what they did will make a difference in some of their peers' lives," Kalata said. "I think it was a humbling experience for them."