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Bullpen Foundation’s equipment drive to aid Huntsville youth sports

HUNTSVILLE – It is widely known that opportunities to play sports moved out of economic reach years ago for some youths. Team participation among children ages 6-12 has declined nearly 15% since 2012. However, one local group is striving to keep options open to all.

The Huntsville-based Bullpen Foundation, a 501(c)(3) started in 2022, was formed to work alongside community park associations to increase park participation and create positive team experiences.

To bolster the effort, the organization is hosting an equipment drive Saturday at Milton Frank Stadium from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Cookies and coffee will be available to donors. 

“This was a vision that I had,” said Jason Landers, co-founder and one of five original board members at the Bullpen Foundation. “I have a 13-year-old son who I had been blessed to be able to coach growing up and had been around the parks across the city and just saw that there was a real need for some of these kids, as far as equipment and barriers to get into youth sports.

“And so I talked to a couple of guys about it and decided that it was something worth pursuing.”

Simply put, the Bullpen Foundation wants to level the playing field so every child in the community has an opportunity to play ball. Landers said.

“Whether it’s access to park registration fees, equipment or just good coaching, our goal is to support and energize participation in youth sports in the Huntsville metro area,” he said.

The foundation has worked with the city to identify the needs.

“We work directly with the directors of each of the parks,” Landers said. “We knew that initially we couldn’t change the world, so we worked with Parks and Rec. (Huntsville Director) James Gossett at Parks and Rec has been a big help for us and in identifying the parks that really need help.

“We went to those parks and got relationships with those directors,” Landers said. “We reach out to them. We just sent an email to (Gossett) the other day asking if they could identify needs for the spring baseball and softball season.

“And so like last year we bought helmets, cleats, a glove and paid their park registration for 50 kids across Northern and Lakewood leagues.”

Preferred items:

  • Baseball bats: Drop 13 to drop 3 sizes for ages 4 to 15 and older
  • Softball bats: Drop 13 to drop 8 sizes for ages 4 to 15 and older
  • Baseball/softball equipment bags: Backpacks or wheeled bags)
  • Baseball batting helmets :Tee ball, junior and senior sizes
  • Softball batting helmets: Tee ball, junior and senior sizes]
  • Football shoulder pads: Youth sizes XS to XL 
  • Cleats: All youth sizes
  • Catcher’s equipment: Youth ages 10 and under, intermediate ages 11-15 
  • New footballs: K2 size (pee-wee) and TDJ Size (junior) 
  • New basketballs: Sizes 27.5, 28.5 and 29.5 
  • New volleyballs: Tachikara Volley Lite Size & SV5WS Official Size 
  • New soccer balls: Ball sizes Nos. 3, 4 and 5
  • Soccer shin guards: All youth sizes

To information, email [email protected] or visit Bullpenfoundation.org.

 

 

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