Sports-Share, the organization that I started in 2011 when I was 9 years old, fosters the reuse of sports equipment by collecting it from the original owners who no longer need it and getting it in the hands of those who can use it again. We do this by partnering with organizations which serve people in need of gear. I started this organization because back in July of 2011 I played in a 4v4 tournament against a team which did not have the proper gear - many players didn’t have shinguards or cleats. After the game I asked the coach if he would like gear donations (because cleats are generally worn for a season until they are grown out of, and are still in good condition), and he said yes. Now, we have collected over 5,000 pieces of sports gear and expanded to multiple volunteers and many sports. Since its inception in 2011, Sports-Share has branched out to collect from high schools, summer camps, sports teams, running shoe stores, and the neighborhood. Sport-Share is a win-win for the organization, recipients, donors, and the environment as the gear is able to be reused instead of throwing out a great piece of usable gear.
The process from start to finish is simple, yet time consuming. First, the gear is collected from a bin at a location and brought back home. Then, we will look through the gear and throw out any pieces that are not in good enough condition to be donated. I would estimate that around 10% of all donations end up going in the trash as they can contain holes, worn out soles, or are in extremely poor condition. An example of this is when running shoes are donated without insoles. If we cannot find a matching pair of insoles that fits correctly, the shoes will have to be unfortunately thrown out. The pieces of gear that pass inspection are then cleaned and sorted by sport. For example, running shoes will be tied together in a bow and then placed with the other running shoes. Once all of the gear has been sorted, it is placed in labeled bags. This enables us to tell the recipient organizations what we have, and also aids in the counting process. Once the gear has been bagged, we reach out to our partner organizations to see if they need any gear. Finally, we deliver the gear and start the process over again. We make sure that we donate only the items which the recipient organizations wish to have, as we don’t want to burden their storage space.
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