Little League pitches in with Caribbean communities recovering from hurricanes
WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WOLF) -- Many Caribbean communities are still recovering from the 2017 hurricanes.
"Many of my neighbors have no roofs and it's very much an ongoing process," said Steve Parris.
In that recovery, Williamsport-based Little League Baseball and Softball is teamed up with nonprofit Pitch In For Baseball and Softball, hoping to get young players back in the game.
"They're able to provide some gently used equipment to assist some of those programs to get back on the field and provide a sense of normalcy for those kids," said Dan Velte, Senior Director of League Development and Regional Operations.
A sense of normalcy that has been hard to come by.
Steve Parris is the Little League District Administrator based in St. Thomas.
He says before the storm, there were around 800 little league players in the US Virgin Islands.
But many were displaced.
"Post-storm, those numbers decreased by 70%. So we're hoping that this year, in 2019, that those numbers at least get back in the 4-500 territory," said Parris.
And getting back starts with a ball, and glove, and bat and helmet - of which were donated in 33 team kits to teams in the USVI, British Virgin Islands, and St. Maarten.
"To be able to have that new equipment, to not worry about that expense when their parents have to worry about other things, it was tremendous to see," said Velte. "To see those kids and how happy they were when they opened up the equipment bags."
They say it's a simple step to reclaiming that feeling of normalcy again.
"These two storms were the worst in my lifetime. And it was great to know that the story is out there and that people are aware of our needs and we're so grateful for all the contributions," said Parris.
Earlier this year, Little League helped Pitch In For Baseball and Softball raise $100,000 to support local leagues throughout Puerto Rico with 175 baseball and softball team kits, along with pants. Part of those efforts included PIFB/S rebuilding 100% of softball teams on the island.
All local Little Leaguers are encouraged to donate gently used equipment to PIFB/S.
To donate funds or equipment, or learn more, click here.