Pitch In For Baseball (PIFB), a not-for-profit that collects and redistributes new and gently-used baseball and softball equipment to communities in need all across the world, is helping youngsters half way around the globe by providing nearly $55,000 in baseball and softball equipment and uniforms to local Little League® programs in the equipment-starved country of the Philippines.
Little League in the Philippines is unlike the baseball and softball you probably grew up playing. With a scarcity of equipment, the local Little League volunteers in the Philippines are currently using their resourcefulness to ensure that children can have any baseball or softball experience.
“Kids will rarely have a bat or glove, let alone a helmet or even shoes”, said Jolly Gomez, country manager for Little League Baseball in the Philippines and Little League International Board of Directors Member. “This is why the contribution of Pitch in For Baseball matters a lot. It allows the children to have their own equipment and for some their first ever pair of shoes or a baseball uniform that they can call their own. More than the equipment they receive, the kids in the Philippines are receiving a chance to play a game.”
According to Mr. Gomez, there are over 10,000 children in the Philippines playing baseball and softball. However, only 10 percent of them have their own gear, mostly in Manila. This donation of approximately 7,000 equipment and uniform items will not only help properly equip many of those playing without traditional gear, but will help attract new kids to the game. PIFB’s equipment donation to the Philippines was made possible, in part, thanks to a contribution made to the organization from the Little League Big Legacy Project.
“Our mission is to ensure that a lack of baseball equipment never stops anyone from playing baseball,” said Roy Smalley III, former MLB All-Star and President of Pitch In for Baseball. “Having had the chance to meet the great people who run Little League in the Philippines and to hear the challenges they are facing, how can you not want to help them? Their passion for the game is as real as anyone we’ve ever met.”
This Pitch In For Baseball equipment and uniform donation is part of a larger charitable effort in celebration the 75th Anniversary of Little League in 2014. To commemorate its Diamond Anniversary, Little League created the Little League Big Legacy Project, which provided $50,000 in support of ‘Pitch In For Baseball,’ that donation was matched by American Honda Motor Corp., the official vehicle manufacturer of Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball®. The total $100,000 contribution along with generous equipment donations from Easton Sports, the official team equipment supplier of Little League Baseball and Softball, will support seven Showcase Donations to local Little League programs, including this one to the Philippines.
Pitch In For Baseball thanks partners USA Baseball, DART Entities, and The Dedeaux Foundation who also played a critical role in making the Philippines project possible. USA Baseball is the governing body for amateur baseball in the U.S. and a member of the Olympic Committee. DART Entities specializes in shipping logistics and transportation. The Rod Dedeaux Foundation supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved areas.
“The Little League programs in the Philippines are wonderful examples of how Little League gives children the opportunity to play baseball and softball with their friends, while learning the life lessons of teamwork and fair play,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “As one of the showcase donations made possible through the Little League Big Legacy Project, we are delighted that so many more children in the region will get a chance to play thanks to Pitch In For Baseball’s donation and create their own Little League memories.”
People can support the efforts of PIFB by donating new or gently-used equipment, or by making a financial donation. To make a donation or learn more about the organization, visit www.pifb.org.