CLARK Security Products, an Anixter company and wholesale distributor of physical security products and services, coordinated a nationwide equipment drive in August to collect new and gently used equipment for Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit foundation that distributes the equipment to kids around the world.
The drive brought in more than 1,000 balls, 150 bats, 200 mitts, 61 helmets, 40 equipment bags, and an assortment of jerseys, cleats, batting gloves and catchers’ gear.
“We are blown away by the success of our equipment drive,” said Jay Heffernan, national vice president of sales for CLARK. “We invited our customers, suppliers and employees who love America’s favorite pastime to pitch in with us — and the industry responded!”
CLARK began the equipment drive in early July. The drive culminated in a nationwide event on August 28, as 12 branches hosted local barbeques and invited local suppliers, customers and employees to pitch in. The price of admission was a donation of new or gently used baseball and softball equipment.
Participating in the CLARK Pitch In events across the country were 21 security manufacturers, including Access, ADA EZ, Alarm Lock, Allegion, ASSA ABLOY, CDVI, Codelocks, Command, CompX, DoorKing, DynaLock, ILCO, Keedex, Marks, Master Lock, Medeco, Mul-T-Lock, Olympus, Paxton, Stanley and Trine.
“The real winners are the kids receiving the generous donations of baseball equipment by the manufacturers attending the event,” said Ray Keddington, a former division III baseball player and current regional manager at Paxton Access. “Who knows when some child out there gets one of these new bats or balls or baseball gloves and is inspired to become the next major league star?”
A Sports Authority store in Atlanta also participated, donating three coach’s kits, which included a bucket of baseballs, score books and new baseball bats.
David Dirkse, national accounts manager at Engineering Specialties in Georgia, initiated a drive of his own by posting information about CLARK’s Pitch In event on his Facebook wall.
With two of Dirkse’s three children having played recreational ball, school ball and travel ball from beginning to end, he has been very involved with the local board and booster club through the years.
"Our kids had the opportunity to play,” Dirkse wrote, “so let's help some kids that don't."
Dirkse’s message rang out across his social network. On August 28 Dirkse sent in a picture of all the equipment he collected with the caption, “Hope you have a big bin!” The picture showed enough gear to outfit two entire teams.
“It really does bring tears to my eyes to think how many kids will get to play ball thanks to David,” said Vicky Griffith, CLARK sales representative in Atlanta.
The equipment was sent to Pitch In For Baseball headquarters where it will be distributed according to the foundation’s mission.
“Pitch In For Baseball is grateful to have CLARK as a partner,” wrote Meredith P. Kim, director of development for Pitch In For Baseball. “They are a model for us. They coordinated a successful company-wide charitable effort, engaging all of their employees across the country.
“We have already received several pallets of equipment. Thanks to CLARK community, hundreds of boys and girls will have the chance to play ball,” Kim said.
Susan Kuruvilla, president of CLARK, commended the efforts of everyone involved in the drive.
“Thanks to our coworkers, suppliers and customers — and of course the Pitch In For Baseball team — for embracing the charity and spreading the word,” Kuruvilla said. “We will be helping a lot of kids learn a new sport, practice sportsmanship and teamwork, and best of all, get outside to play.”
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