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WNY softball community rallies together to donate 6,000 lbs of equipment to Dominican Republic

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Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-04 18:05:42-05

In parts of the Dominican Republic, it is not uncommon to see girls playing catch with cereal boxes as gloves.

"They fold them up and they use that as a mitt," Akron Varsity softball coach Marlene Stone told 7ABC in April." "It kind of hit home and we thought we're so lucky to have so much equipment--so why not share it?"

That they did.

After some brainstorming, the girls on the Akron softball team decided to hold a used softball equipment drive.

They started in April of 2016 -- Here's our initial story on their efforts -- and on Saturday they delivered more than 6,000 pounds of equipment to the Niagara Falls Air Base, where it will be sent overseas. 

"That's what we kind of dreamed of a year ago," Stone said. "With so much help from so many different municipalities, companies, softball leagues, schools and players we have gained 6,000 pounds of stuff to ship down there [Dominican Republic]."

When Stone and her team started they wanted to accomplish two things:

1- Travel to the Dominican Republic and hold a softball camp
2- Fill a cargo plane with donated equipment

In January they completed phase one and spent a week in the Dominican Republic, spreading the game they love.

"They got to take a glove home." Akron Junior Abby Stone said while explaining the trip. "They didn't care what kind of glove it was, what size it was, what color, they were just so happy that they got a glove and a ball to themselves to go home and play with."

Stone's teammate Sydney Leeds said she'll cherish her memories forever, but one moment stood out more than anything else.

"The last day we went we gave them all a softball and they came up to us and asked us all to sign them because they wanted our names on it."

The equipment was donated by teams and players from all over Western New York. The shipment will also include school supplies, donated by the Aakron Rule Corporation in Akron.

"A couple times throughout the year we will do a humanitarian mission," Master Sergeant Ken Kaczmarek from the 30th Aerial Port Squadron said. "[We] some kind of relief for somebody throughout the world."

There's no exact shipment date, but the more than three tons of equipment will be sent off before the end of the month.

"I think it is a lot more than we expected," Williamsville East Senior Brianna Bucello said. "We were excited about the turnout."

"You're on pins and needles until it finally happened last week when they called [Air Base] and said bring us the stuff. That was really satisfying because all these people worked so hard all year long. It was a real team effort, today is very exciting."

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