Ballgloves for NorCal fire victims
On October 9th, 2017 Rincon Valley Little League was hit with 40+ mph winds which in turn caused a wild fire that nearly engulfed the entire city of Santa Rosa.
57 children in Rincon Valley Little League lost their homes and possessions including their baseball gloves. My goal is to provide every one of these players with a brand new custom baseball glove for the Spring 2018 Little League season, designed in the RVLL color black leather with yellow stitching and embroidered with #SONOMAPROUD.
These families have lost everything. Many generous people and organizations are stepping up to take care of the more pressing issues like food, clothing, shelter, etc.
I want to make sure that baseball is not left behind. It is important for kids to have the sense of normalcy, to get back on the field doing what they love. The ballpark has always been a community gathering place, a place to relax, take in a game and forget about life for a while. As an example, look to the 2017 Houston Astros after the flooding, the 2013 Boston Red Sox after the marathon bombing and the 2001 New York Mets and Yankees after September 11th. There are many cases where baseball has had a healing effect on a community that has suffered great tragedy.
This is your opportunity to donate to fire victims with full knowledge of how your donation will be used and whom it will be going to.
A donation of $750 or more you will also receive a custom glove just like the players, embroidered with #SONOMAPROUD or any text you chose. Glove will be sized appropriately to your hand.
This effort is being done in cooperation with and the full blessing of Rincon Valley Little League. If you have any questions about the validity of this fundraiser, please do not hesitate to contact League President Mark Douglas , PR Director Corey Larson or volunteer committee representative Tim Bertini .
Q. What is the timeframe for this fundraiser?
A. Custom gloves take 4-8 weeks, tryouts are usually held toward the end of January. So, we need to place the order by Thanksgiving. We will keep the campaign open beyond that date if the goal has not yet been met.
Q. Why not just provide them used gloves? I'm sure they won’t complain.
A. Collecting 57 used gloves in good condition is a challenge, fitting each player with an appropriate glove is a logistical nightmare. A glove that has been broken in and formed to the original owner's hand will not fit or perform as well for the new owner.
Q. Why not just get them some off the shelf gloves from a big box store?
A. If we are going to take the time to buy new gloves for the kids, we want to make it special. A store-bought glove is just another piece of equipment. These custom gloves in the black and gold Rincon Valley Little League colors will be custom embroidered with either the player's name or an inspirational tag such as #SONOMAPROUD. We want these gloves to have special meaning to the players, something they will keep with them and hopefully pass on to their own children someday.
Q. What make/model are these gloves?
A. The gloves will come from Akadema, an American glove maker based out of New Jersey. Akadema supplies baseball gloves to many youth travel, high school and college baseball & softball teams as well current and former MLB players. I have purchased nearly 20 Akadema gloves in the past 3 years, the quality is very good for the price. My son and I have played with many gloves from the big name makers, some costing hundreds of dollars, and the Akadema build quality and durability for the price is outstanding. The manufacturer is offering a significant discount on the gloves, this fundraiser is to help cover the difference.
Q. What happens if you exceed or do not reach your goal?
A. Every dollar we collect up to our goal is going towards new gloves, whether we fall short or not. In the event we exceed our goal, the additional funds will be donated directly to Rincon Valley Little League to help cover the cost of field maintenance equipment that was lost in the fire.
Q. What is the cost of a custom glove?
A. Retail pricing on a custom Akadema Youth glove is $250. At that price it would cost $14,250 to purchase all 57 gloves. Thanks to a greatly reduced price from the manufacturer and some starter donations, we only need to raise $6000.
Q. Who are you?
A. I am the father of a 9yr old little league player in San Rafael CA, 35 miles south of Rincon Valley. I am a board member of San Rafael Little League, a volunteer for the Canal Baseball Academy Charity and Jr. Giants organization. I annually sponsor teams in both San Rafael Little League and Twin Cities Little League. I am a diehard Boston Red Sox fan, baseball is my life.
Q. Why are you doing this campaign?
A. Like many others, I wanted to help those impacted by the wildfires. I was inspired by the thousands of people who donated time, money or supplies to help the families. Some children may miss the 2018 Little League season, but I’m going to make sure it’s not for lack of equipment or money to participate.
Q. Are 100% of the funds going towards the cause?
A. Yes, I am making zero dollars off this fundraiser and in fact I am putting in a LOT of my own money towards the goal as well as covering whatever funding deficit exists at the end of the fundraiser.
First, thank you to everyone who has donated.
I apologize for the lack of updates but have been quite busy with this fundraising activity.
The gloves were ordered in December and arrived a couple weeks ago.
During that time, I purchased a few more items to include with the gloves.
Rather than handing a kid a glove I thought a nice carrying bag would make for better presentation.
I ordered these Drawstring Backpacks with the Rincon Valley Little League Logo printed on it. (see attached photo or visit link)
Unfortunately the minimum order was 150 so each of the 62 kids will also receive an extra bag to use or share with a friend or teammate.
Included in the bag is a new official little league baseball. A $5 baseball doesn't seem like much, but when you are buying 62 o them, it adds up. Thankfully my friend Tim @ T&B Sports in San Rafael offered a nice discount on the balls.
Tom from Baseballexpress.com was kind enough to discount 62 pairs of Rawlings Youth Baseball Sunglasses, so each kid gets a pair.
Our friend Bobby who owns Diamond Sports Cards in San Rafael, discounted 3 cases of Topps baseball cards so each kid gets a pack of cards in the bag.
To cap it off, we bought 4 cases of Big League Chew bubble gum, so each bag will have some junk food.
This past Saturday we got to work filling and labeling bags.
Our son Cooper (age 9) sorted all the gloves by size and checked them off our master list. He put the glove in the bag and handed it off to me.
I added the baseball, sunglasses, baseball cards, chewing gum and extra bag.
My lovely wife Tracy then labeled each bag and added a printed letter with notes/description of each item.
We packed all the bags into my car and drove them 45 miles north to Rincon Valley Little League. League President Mark Douglas gave Cooper and me a tour of their "Field of Dreams" He showed us where the wildfires swept down from the hill, and destroyed their equipment sheds and $80k worth of field maintenance equipment. He also took us to the line where the fire raced up to and miraculously stopped, just a few feet short of the field. We met several members of the RVLL board and league volunteers. Dozens of players were out on the field for an Advanced Skills Clinic, getting ready for Opening Day in early April. The weather was beautiful. kids were playing and smiling, the fields were in excellent shape, the charred hillsides are now covered in green grass.
Thanks to all of you who donated, many deserving young players will have a new glove custom made for them to replace one they lost.
I will update the campaign with more pictures when the kids receive the gloves.
But we have more work to do.
With the help of Rincon Valley Little League we have gathered glove sizes and lefty/righty for each child.
Unfortunately we have also identified additional victims of the fire who play in RVLL and suffered great loss. WE NEED MORE GLOVES!
I have raised the fundraising goal to $7000 which will provide gloves for those children who lost theirs in the fires and cover shipping.
If you have not yet donated, now would be a great time to do so.
Thank you again for your support.
Thank you to Garret Barnes of Luxe AV in Campbell CA, our first HomeRun level donor of $750. Garrett will be receiving a custom baseball glove just like our deserving little leaguers.
I'd also like to recognize the members of DriveClub lead by my friend Ren Chang, who have donated $400 so far.
We are almost half way to our goal, so go steal some more of your kid's Halloween candy, grab your credit card and make a donation!