MT. VERNON — The United Way of South Central Illinois is paying it forward with a Play It Forward drive.
The activity is part of the National Day of Action on Saturday, and will involve area organizations and individuals donating used and new sports equipment.
“Educating families and especially young people about protecting their health, as well as the importance of developing healthy habits, lifestyles and skills, are essential in reaching (the goal of increasing the number of
healthy Americans),” information from United Way states. “Providing access to sports equipment is one way to support health and wellness, and United Way of South Central Illinois thinks that a great way to engage volunteers in promoting active lifestyles is to organize a sports equipment drive for children and youth.”
As part of the Play It Forward drive, donations of used and new sports equipment of all kinds will be collected at the Jefferson County YMCA from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Volunteers from United Way will then take the equipment, clean and repair it and later distribute it to children at the sixth annual Stuff the Bus distribution on Aug. 16 at Jungle Gyms on Illinois Route 15 west, across from Sonic.
“On the day of distribution, we will also be encouraging children to sign up for activities with the YMCA, Jefferson County Sports Authority, Woodlawn Community Foundation and to participate in school athletics and physical education,” said United Way Executive Director Rhonda Edmonson. “Not having the equipment necessary to get involved in some of these group sports may be prohibiting some children from getting involved. We believe all of us have used balls and equipment that we are no longer using. Donating that equipment to a child that needs it could lead to offering that child a start to a healthier lifestyle.”
The United Way will collect balls of all kinds, athletic footwear, athletic clothing, bats, gloves, rackets, helmets, safety equipment, etc.
“We will accept any type of gently-used or new sports equipment,” Edmonson said. “What ever you have, we will be able to match up to a child that needs it.”