Woodward, Okla. —
If you've had a child who's ever played sports, you know it's not cheap.
Members of the First Christian Church's Outreach Committee know it too. That's why the committee is organizing a community "sports closet."
Outreach Committee member Alison Collier said the goal of the sports closet is to offer gently used sporting equipment to children who might otherwise not be able to afford the items.
Collier said the church group got the idea after "we realized there might be a need for children who may not be able to participate in sports because of the cost of the equipment."
"We have Kid's, Inc. which provides them a place to play, but basketball shoes and baseball cleats and those things children need to play can be expensive," she said.
As a mother of active children herself, Collier said she knows the sports closet will be mutually beneficial for both those families needing to find equipment and those families needing to get rid of outgrown equipment.
"I have 2 children who played sports and we would always have used cleats and basketballs just lying around," she said.
The sports closet will give families like hers a place to take those items and clear some clutter from their own homes while helping other children have the chance to become part of a team, she said.
"This gives people a place to take their used sports equipment and know it will be used by somebody else in the community," she said.
However, before the church can open its sports closet to the public and start handing out equipment, Collier said they first need some equipment donated.
"Right now we're taking donations of any type of sports equipment, whether it's for football, basketball, golf, baseball, softball or soccer," she said. "And we're looking for any equipment that a child might need to play like shin guards, gym shorts, baseball bats, baseball gloves, cleats, football pads. Just anything their child is not using any longer that they'd like to donate."
Since the items are intended to be presented to other children for use, Collier said they need to be in fairly good condition.
"We're looking for gently used items that are clean and ready to be given to somebody else," she said.
Donations may be dropped off at the First Christian Church during regular business hours, which are from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Collier said there will be a collection bin set up for the sports item just inside the western entrance to the church, which is located on the southeast corner of 9th St. and Oklahoma Ave.
Collier said the group hasn't set a specific date on when the closet will be officially opened to the community to come in and get the items they may need.
"It depends on the donations we get and how fast we get them, but hopefully we'll be up and going in the next month or two," she said.
In addition to equipment, Collier said the church will also accept financial donations toward the sports closet.
She said these monetary donations would be used "if a child needed a specific item that we didn't have, then we could purchase that item for the child."
For more information about the sports closet or how you can make a donation, contact the First Christian Church at (580) 256-7896.