Coach McGraw starts Meals With Muffet to fight hunger

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After coaching the Irish for 33 seasons and winning two national championships former Notre Dame women’s basketball Coach Muffet McGraw is taking on a new opponent - hunger. She started an initiative called Meals With Muffet to fight hunger.

ABC57's Allison Hayes spoke with the legendary coach about the project and how she's giving back to the community.

Allison: Since retirement, Muffet, you have done everything but relax. You have been out and about in the community, continuing to make a difference and now you have a new initiative called, Meals With Muffet. Tell us what Meals With Muffet is all about.

Muffet: Meals With Muffet is a national drive for honoring Food Hunger Awareness month. So we've paired with the Notre Dame Alumni Club. Dolly Duffy has sent out messages to everybody in the country to say this is the month. Pick a couple of days in your community. Go out and get some donations, raise some money. We've already got 60,000 pounds of food and $30,000. So it's starting off really well.

Allison: Why has food donation really been such a passion for you? Because this started right after your announcement of retirement. You hit the ground running and have been making huge strides.

Muffet: Well, I've always loved volunteering at the Food Bank. We used to take the team down there. Our staff would go down there, as often as we could just sorting things and getting things together for kids for school and when the pandemic hit, that was my first concern how are these kids going to get their food? How are they going to have school lunch without school? So what can I do to help? I wanted to do something, as everybody in our community does. And I've been so thankful that everyone has been so generous when I've been in your neighborhood, leaving that food at the mailbox.

Allison: Well, Meals With Muffet, it's a partnership. You have a couple of different organizations on board with you and then, folks can go to a website, where they can actually register, either as a group or an individual. Tell us a little bit how that works and how is that important, to get people to come together to really make a difference?

Muffet: Well, if you go to the Alumni Association's website, it's mealswithmuffet.nd.edu. So I think it will be easy for everyone to get involved. We really want the clubs across the country, cause we have so many people that want to help and want to do something. So I just think it's really important. There's going to be some great prizes for the winners, see who can bring in the most food, who can bring the most donations and we'll have a lot of different things. We're pairing with a lot of different organizations that we already have here at Notre Dame and I'm excited to be a part of it.

Allison: The prizes, just trying to have some fun with it. What are some of the things that people could possibly win?

Muffet: Well, I'm not sure. I think there's still some donations from Holtz's Heroes. There's another organization and then, I'm going to be doing some Zoom calls with people. We were hoping that I could actually go to the club and spend some time with them, but until things change, it will probably all be on Zoom.

Allison: Well, that sounds awesome and I know another thing that's been keeping you very busy is teaching this fall at Notre Dame. I imagine that plan has probably changed a little bit with social distancing and everything that has been going on, but tell us the class that you are now a professor for and what has that experience been like for you?

Muffet: Well, teaching is a great segue from coaching cause I feel like I have just changed from the court to the classroom. I'm teaching a class called, 'Sports Leadership: How Leaders Make Teams Flourish.' It's in the Mendoza School of Business and I am loving it. I am really enjoying being with the students, talking about all of the things. I've got 40 years' worth of experience in working with teens. So I'm just so happy to give that over to them.

Allison: Thank you so much for joining us and I know the kids have to be so excited to be able to have you in the classroom with them and to just be able a part of all the good things that you're doing on and off campus right now. So thank you for joining us and we'll look forward to catching up with you again soon.

Muffet: Yeah, let's go Irish! Ready for football!

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