Remember last July when the Oriole Advocates collected new and gently used baseball and softball equipment at Camden Yards as part of their Cardboard to Leather campaign?
Well, the bats, balls, gloves, jerseys and other gear collected has been given a second life in Puerto Rico, where kids who otherwise wouldn’t get such equipment are now wearing and using it in games.
Back in November, the Advocates sent 20,000 items via shipping container to Puerto Rico, where former Orioles outfielder Benny Ayala saw that the equipment got to where it was needed the most.
As a result, thousands of kids on the island were recipients of gear and uniforms. In Puerto Rico, where they’re still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017, everyone loves baseball. Now, thanks to the Oriole Advocates, they can enjoy the game with some new gear.
Each year, the Advocates collect new and gently used baseball equipment at Camden Yards and at nearby Orioles minor league affiliates. Gear is also donated by area youth organizations, and folks cleaning out their closets and garages seek out the Advocates to repurpose gloves, bats and balls that still have some life in them. Donations have come from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, New York and New Jersey.
The equipment is separated, repaired if necessary and packaged for shipment to players in need.
Shipments have been delivered to Nicaragua, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Belize and Puerto Rico. Smaller collections of equipment have been sent to Mexico and to an Indian reservation in South Dakota. Monetary donations have been used to purchase equipment necessary to construct fields for children who have none.
Stay tuned for information on the Cardboard to Leather collection at Camden Yards in 2019. For more information on the program, click here.