Pepsi Center was teeming with activity as community members donated sporting goods at the eighth annual giveSPORTS Equipment Drive this past Saturday.
The drive, hosted by Kroenke Sports Charities and benefited A Precious Child, collects over 20,000 pieces of equipment annually and distributes them back to children and families who would otherwise not be able to afford the gear.
This year, milestones were reached. For the first time in the eight-year history of the drive, enough gear was donated to fill up an entire 53-foot semi-truck and half of a 26-foot box truck at the collection site in the Rav4 parking lot. In addition, a separate truck was filled with only bicycles, which will be refurbished by Goodwill industries. This year saw almost double the amount of collected bikes than in years past.
Hockey sticks, basketballs, soccer cleats and even bowling balls were also included in this year's haul, ensuring that community youth will have elevated access to a wide variety of sporting opportunities. Brannan Sand & Gravel returned as a scholarship sponsor, matching cash donations up to $5,000.
With this much gear, it was helpful to have some strong hands unloading and sorting on site. Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog was active on the scene and spent the day emptying trunks, carrying boxes and even lugging around some punching bags. He was joined by other Avs celebrities including alumni John-Michael Liles and Rick Berry, the Avalanche Ice Patrol, mascot Bernie and Altitude Sports personalities,
A Precious Child's giveSPORTS program was started by 12-year-old Dustin Martin in 2011. Knowing the powerful impact sports had on his own life, Martin sought to ensure all children, regardless of circumstance, had the opportunity to play sports.
Video: Annual Equipment Drive at Pepsi Center
The program's first drive was held in memory of Jessica (Redfield) Ghawi, an aspiring sports journalist and intern for Altitude Sports & Entertainment. She wanted to support children who were victims of Colorado's 2012 wildfires and replace any hockey equipment that they had lost. Jessica was never able to take part in the inaugural drive as she lost her life in the Aurora Theater tragedy.
Together, Kroenke Sports Charities and A Precious Child have combined efforts to fulfill both Jessica and Dustin's dreams with eight community-wide equipment drives to help put kids in the game. Since its inception, the giveSPORTS Equipment Drive has collected more than 197,000 pieces of sports equipment and over $80,000 in sports scholarships to benefit 25,000-plus local kids in need and counting.
A Precious Child will continue to accept items. More information can be found at APreciousChild.org.