WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Everyone needs to play sports. It's a great thing."
It's a sentiment Justin Ball shares with nearly every high school athlete. He considers himself lucky to play the game he loves, but he knows everyone's not as fortunate.
"I've played a lot of teams with not enough equipment to field a roster," Ball said. "I felt the need to make a difference."
So Ball started a collection drive right after Christmas and Buffalo came through.
"It made me really happy," he said about the turnout. "To show how much the community cares, it was really inspiring."
More than 80 pieces of equipment was sent to a non-profit called Victory Sports. It was formed in 2017 by Executive Director Doug Rifenburg.
"I have two kids who play youth sports and I just kind of started seeing our equipment piling up," Rifenburg said. "I figured we could probably collect a lot of equipment and then find kids and organizations that need it and give it right back to the community."
Nearly four years later, Rifenberg's moving into a space at the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville. It's filled with gently used or new equipment that'll benefit those who are under resourced.
It's a mission made possible by Rifenburg, his staff, and athletes like Ball - all aiming to provide a pick me up for those who need it most.
"We've heard from kids and from families that a child's come to the parent and says 'I want to play a sport' and the mom or dad says 'we can't afford it'", said Rifenburg. "The fact that we're able to then give this equipment to that family so that child can play, I mean that's the whole reason why we exist."
Any organization or team who's like to apply for equipment, can do so here.