RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - Parents, are you looking for an excuse to clean out your garage? This summer your son's old soccer ball or the bike your daughter outgrew can help other kids get active.
The AdvanceItUp! program is once again collecting gently-used sports equipment. Doctors at Advanced Orthopaedics take it in, then the group Greater Richmond Fit4Kids passes it out.
A drive in the fall collected more than 500 items. They benefited local schools and sports leagues, including First Touch Sports.
"You have to get cleats, you have to get shin guards, socks. That stuff adds up," explains First Touch Sports Co-Founder/President David Glass. His league works to make soccer accessible to everyone, but the costly sport can still be a challenge for parents. That's where AdvanceItUp! comes in
"If we can provide them with simple athletic equipment, then we open up a whole other opportunity they they may not otherwise get," says Dr. Steve Reece of Advanced Orthopaedics.
Tom Byrd of Greater Richmond Fit4Kids adds, "In many cases, we're making the healthy option an option for these kids who otherwise wouldn't have access to equipment."
Byrd says childhood obesity is a major health issue right here. Numbers show one in five kids between the ages of ten and seventeen is overweight in Virginia. The goal is to make physical activity a regular part of their lives. "Look in your closets, bring us all your used sporting goods and we'll be happy to take it off your hands."
The summer AdvanceItUp! drive is underway through June 30. The program will accept any sports equipment except for clothing and helmets.