Pitch In For Baseball helping Hurricane Sandy victims

There aren’t many things that’ll get me out of bed early on a rainy Saturday morning, but yesterday was an exception. I drove out to East Rockaway, New York — a 25-mile trip that took an hour and a half with traffic — and made it just in time to witness something beautiful: a huge delivery of baseball equipment from Pitch In For Baseball to the local Little League that was devastated last year by Hurricane Sandy.

The delivery took place at a recreation center, and when I arrived, David Rhode (pictured below in the red jacket) happened to be standing outside:

1_david_rhode_standing_outside

He’s the director of the charity, and we’ve been working together since 2009. That’s when I first started raising money for him. Normally he ships equipment to communities all over the world, so this was a rare opportunity for me to witness the charity doing its thing.

Tom Schoenfelder, the Operations Manager for Pitch In For Baseball, was already inside the rec center:

2_tom_schoenfelder_rec_center

He and I had met before, so after a brief hello, I started taking lots of photos. Here’s a shot of the mayor of East Rockaway — Francis T. Lenahan Jr. — being interviewed by the local news:

3_east_rockaway_mayor_francis_t_lenahan_jr_being_interviewed

In the photo above, did you notice all those water bottles on the table on the left? Well, look how they were arranged:

4_bottled_waters_spelling_e_r

The “ER” is for East Rockaway.

Cute.

There was also a table with coffee and donuts, but thankfully, before I had a chance to stuff myself, one of the Little League officials made an announcement, and everyone gathered closer:

5_everyone_gathering_closer

He basically said a few thank you’s and then encouraged everyone to head outside. Two minutes later, this was the scene:

6_equipment_unloaded_from_truck

That truck belongs to the national Little League organization; Pitch In For Baseball is borrowing it this month and using it to make more than a dozen deliveries to various communities.

As you can see, David and Tom climbed into the back of the truck and handed out LOTS of stuff to the kids and coaches. In the following photo, Tom is giving an equipment bag, and David is giving bases:

7_equipment_unloaded_from_truck

Here they are handing out helmets . . .

8_equipment_unloaded_from_truck

. . . which the kids brought inside and placed here:

9_kids_adding_helmets_to_pile

Eventually I gave Tom a quick breather by taking over for him in the truck. Here’s a photo that shows me handing a box of stuff to the coaches . . .

10_zack_unloading_equipment

. . . and here’s another photo that shows me looking for something else to grab:

11_zack_unloading_equipment

It felt good to witness all of this, and it felt even better to actually get to help. Everyone was SO appreciative and friendly (including the mayor).

This was my view from the truck:

12_view_from_the_truck

Once all the equipment had been unloaded and brought inside, one of the photographers organized several group shots. First it was David and Tom and the kids:

13_organizing_a_group_photo

Then the mayor and a few other officials joined in.
Then the Little League directors got in the shot:

14_group_photo_with_little_league_directors

You’d never know it by looking at these photos — hell, I couldn’t even tell when I was there — but that rec center had been flooded with six feet of water and sewage, and as a result, all of the Little League’s baseball equipment had been destroyed. With Opening Day just around the corner, this delivery from Pitch In For Baseball came at the perfect time.

Here are some kids checking out their new helmets:

15_kids_checking_out_the_equipment

It all looked good to me:

16_zack_with_helmets

The rain was picking up, but that didn’t stop these kids from posing for a photo with David and Tom:

17_david_and_tom_outside_with_kids

Here I am with them:

18_david_zack_tom_posing_with_truck

Here’s a look at all the equipment that was delivered:

19_equipment_donated_by_pitch_in_for_baseball

Here are some kids holding a Pitch In For Baseball banner . . .

20_banner_makes_an_appearance

. . . and checking out the catcher’s mitts:

21_kids_inspecting_catchers_mitts

Wilson Sporting Goods donated a whole box of brand new mitts:

22_catchers_mitts

They’re gonna need to be broken in, but hey, that’s a good problem for these kids to have.

Here’s a box of catcher’s gear — chest protectors and shin guards (or “leggings” as one of the non-baseball-savvy mothers humorously called them):

23_chest_protectors

Here are some bats and equipment bags . . .

24_equipment_bags_and_bats

. . . and here are dozens of brand new baseballs:

25_baseballs_donated_by_wilson

Before heading out, I made sure to get a photo with this guy named Doug Drotman:

26_zack_with_pifb_publicist_and_1986_guilford_graduate_doug_drotman

Not only is he doing PR for Pitch In For Baseball, but he’s a fellow Guilford College graduate. Most people that I meet haven’t even heard of Guilford, so meeting someone who actually went there (who was involved with sports) was cool.

Anyway, that’s pretty much it. Just wanted to share this with everyone and let it be known that I’ll be raising money again this season for Pitch In For Baseball. If you’d like to donate to my fundraiser, visit this page on my website and scroll down to where it says “Click here to pledge” in big letters. It’ll probably take less than 30 seconds from there. Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s a recent article on MLB.com about Roy Smalley working with Pitch In For Baseball to help Hurricane Sandy victims.

3 Comments

Cool stuff, Zack.

Great to see the kids with smiles on their faces. Good job Zack. Nice to be able to help in a practical way.

CH1088-
Thanks.

RAY BURTON-
Given the fact that you made such a generous donation last season, it’s nice to be able to show you what the charity does.

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