Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 3:50 pm | Fair 67º


Teens Collecting Gently Used Equipment, Clothing for Santa Barbara Sports Drive

Local students are combining their love of sports with community service. For the fourth year, students are gathering new and gently used sports equipment and clothing for the Santa Barbara Sports Drive.

Laguna Blanca's Eddie Conk, Elijah Bittleston and Matt Wagonhurst teamed up to found the Santa Barbara Sports Drive.
Laguna Blanca’s Eddie Conk, Elijah Bittleston and Matt Wagonhurst teamed up to found the Santa Barbara Sports Drive. (Laguna Blanca School file photo)

This Sports Drive is organized by teenagers with the goal of giving sports equipment and clothing to more than 750 kids in need in the Santa Barbara community and increasing membership and participation at the Santa Barbara Boys & Girls Club.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 2 at the Santa Barbara Boys & Girls Club. The official collection of gently used sports equipment and clothing is now in progress, and donations are urgently needed.

Bike giveaways have become a big part of the event. This year, the Sports Drive is partnering with Santa Barbara High School’s SBici Bike Club, Santa Barbara Middle School’s Bike Monnkeys and SB Coalition’s BiCi Centro to collect and tune up donated bikes and to educate those children who win a bike at the Sports Drive raffle about the value and safety requirements of being a bike owner.

Bike donations are also needed. For pick-ups, call the Sports Drive Hotline at 805.729.0353.

The team behind Sports Drive is comprised of 40 students who started the program with a pair of shoes, an idea and a drive to help others. This group of young philanthropists held their first Sports Drive on April 10, 2010, at the Santa Barbara Boys & Girls Club after collecting gently used and new sports equipment and clothing from friends and neighbors.

Since the drive began, truckloads of goods have filled the gym at the Boys & Girls Club. Last year, the Sports Drive gave out more than 4,000 items to more than 700 kids in our community. Their goal this year is to reach out to new families and businesses to help boost donations so they can increase the number of kids they support.

“Our mission is to get kids off the street and into sports, support the Boys & Girls Club, and recycle sports equipment,” founding member Matt Wagonhurst said. “The concept is simple, but it takes a big team to make this event happen.”

Steve Yapp, Tri-Counties PODS owner, will be supporting the Sports Drive again this year by donating PODS to the cause. A POD is stationed at the Boys & Girls Club, 632 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara, to accept donations through Feb. 28. The Community Environmental Council is promoting the event to its members and will be on site supplying reusable bags to participants.

Donations are actively being accepted now. Please call the hotline at 805.729.0353 for pick-ups or take your items directly to the Boys & Girls Club for storage in the POD. Tickets to the Sports Drive will be distributed by agencies that support children in need. These include Transition House, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) and the Boys & Girls Club.

Click here for more information about the Sports Drive, or click here to connect with the group on Facebook.

— Duncan King represents the Santa Barbara Sports Drive.


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