When Tim Jackson was set to go visit a friend in a small Mexican town, the former Rutland Minor Baseball coach heard that there were many kids in the area that love to play baseball.
His friend told him kids were playing stickball on the street with no equipment in the small town of Toddos Santos, up the coast from Cabo San Lucas.
So Jackson decided he would bring some used baseball gear with him on his trip.
“I talked to the equipment manager for Rutland baseball and took a bag of old gear with me,” said Jackson. “When I showed up I asked the kids if they wanted to play baseball and started walking to the stadium. By the time I got to the stadium I had 16 or 17 kids following me.”
That was the spark for what Jackson hopes is an ongoing relationship between himself, Rutland Minor Baseball, and kids in Mexico who love baseball but have no equipment.
Jackson has now organized a used equipment drop off for this Saturday at Edith Gay Park in Rutland and has an agreement with Westjet to send the equipment to Mexico.
“A lot of these kids never leave their little hometown and they don’t go to school past Grade 4,” he said. “The field they play on is dirt. Half of them are wearing flip flops because they don’t have any shoes. They don’t have money to buy equipment.”
Jackson says many baseball parents in Kelowna are probably like him: They have used equipment in their shed that will never be used again. It’s a perfect opportunity to clean out the gear and send it to a kid who will cherish it.
“Most of these kids don’t play organized sports,” he said. “If we can get these kids gloves and get them doing something they can feel a part of something. For a lot of them there is nothing to do. Everyone has some old equipment they need to get rid of. We can change a few kids’ lives.”
If you have some used baseball equipment you can drop it off between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Edith Gay Clubhouse.