StettlerLocal.com November 10, 2021 @9:10am
The Gear up Kids Foundation was started in Stettler in 2016. For the last five years, the organization has collected donations of sports equipment and funds to provide kids in need with equipment to play their favourite sports. In conjunction with other organizations in the community, such as KidSport and local schools, they connect kids who would otherwise be unable to play with equipment that is fitted correctly. The foundation is proud that they have never refused anyone who applied for gear.
Founder Len Hoac, the owner of the Stettler Brick store, says he just wanted to help kids play, and at the time, there wasn’t anyone providing equipment to help kids get into sports. “Sports was one of the things I learned a lot from.” He also mentioned that Gear Up encourages kids to play team sports but also provides items for an individual sport, such as bicycles or rollerblades.
Gear up is a volunteer-run organization that provides gear to kids in the Stettler area. They accept donations from the community of gently used sports equipment - from hockey skates to scooters. They also receive financial contributions, as some equipment must be purchased new for safety reasons or is rarely donated. Many businesses generously support them in the Stettler area, which helps them keep their inventory full.
Len says that the group is looking to add a Swap event to the foundation’s calendar, in which anyone in the community would be welcome to bring an outgrown item and swap up for a bigger size.
The foundation members believe that not being able to afford and access sporting equipment should not be a barrier to kids who want to play. Kids are referred to the Gear Up foundation by community agencies, such as KidSport, Heartland Youth Centre, Social services, teachers, coaches, or other community workers. After the referral, kids are fitted at the local Stettler warehouse by a staff member or volunteer. When the kids are finished with the gear or outgrow it, it is returned and again added to the inventory.
For more information visit their website http://gearupkids.ca/about-us/
Jimilee Ayotte, Editor