Partners call for equipment to play ball


The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids and its partners collect new and gently used baseball and softball equipment for the nonprofit's Inner-City Baseball/Softball program. Photo via

A campaign to put baseball and softball equipment in the hands of inner-city children is off and running.

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids’ Equipment Drive for its Inner-City Youth Baseball/Softball program kicked off last week at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Ted Rasberry Field in Grand Rapids.

The YMCA has partnered with the West Michigan Whitecaps, Fifth Third Bank, Meijer and the city of Grand Rapids' Parks & Recreation Department for the equipment drive.

Anyone who donates a piece of equipment will receive four lawn tickets to a 2016 Whitecaps home game, a Wendy’s voucher and one free guest pass to the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.

“We’ve set a goal of collecting 500 pieces of equipment this year,” said Johnathan Pope, executive director, David D. Hunting YMCA. “Every child deserves the opportunity to participate, and the Equipment Drive allows for this opportunity.”

Collecting equipment

The equipment drive runs through June 9 and collects new and gently used equipment.

Batting helmets, bats, baseballs, gloves and more can be dropped off at any Grand Rapids area Fifth Third branch, Fifth Third Ballpark during any home game and weekdays, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and at several YMCA locations:

David D. Hunting YMCA, 475 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids
Lowell YMCA, 1335 W. Main St., Lowell
Spartan Stores YMCA, 5722 Metro Way, Wyoming
Mary Free Bed YMCA, 5500 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids
Visser Family YMCA, 3540 Fairlanes Ave. SW, Grandville
Wolverine Worldwide Family YMCA, 6555 Jupiter Ave. NE, Belmont

Inner-City Baseball/Softball program

Free to inner-city youth between the ages of 6 and 14, the YMCA Inner-City Baseball/Softball program holds games at eight neighborhood parks.

The program has grown from 384 players in its first year to more than 1,100 players last year and more than 130 volunteer coaches.

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