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Football players prepare for community service in Haiti

Fifteen USC football players will travel to Haiti the week after Commencement to build houses and deliver supplies to the country destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 2010.

The group will build a minimum of three houses and transport more than 2,000 pounds of supplies for orphanages and schools as part of the May deployment of Hope Force International, an organization that specializes in quick-strike disaster relief. The players will depart for Haiti on May 14 and work there until May 19.

Quarterback Matt Barkley and his family spearheaded the cause, which his teammates rallied behind. Fellow captain T. J. McDonald leads the list of volunteers joining the Barkley family.

The student-athletes can receive help to pay for the trip. Those who would like to make a donation can visit hopeforce.org

“This is something I’ve talked about with Matt since I was a freshman,” said Devon Kennard, who will graduate in May. “I just wanted the opportunity to serve people in need alongside some of my closest friends. It’s going to be a blessing to those Haitian people, but this experience will be just as valuable for us.”

The Trojans will be aiding the Sous Savanne community in Haiti, which in many cases has been relegated to living under tarps as the only shelter. Houses, bathrooms and supplies are of vital importance.

The USC student-athletes know that this will not be a vacation, and they are looking forward to a week of hard work in a part of the world foreign to most of them.

“I have never been out of the country,” Kennard said. “I have to get a passport. I don’t know what to expect, and that’s what is kind of exciting.”

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