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Friends of Des Moines Parks hosts youth soccer gear giveaway

Organizers told Local 5 they gave away more than 450 soccer balls to kids in need on Saturday.

DES MOINES, Iowa — After spending months cooped up in the cold, summer sports are a great way to get out and enjoy the season. But for some families, getting everything they need for game time is tough. 

That's why Friends of Des Moines Parks was at the Savage Softball Field Saturday passing out 450 soccer balls to kids in need.

"We were hearing from the recreation team that a lot of these kids that were coming to practice in games, they didn't have equipment. And so it was, it was something that we just felt immediately drawn to, in support," said Sarah Lohmeier, Friends of Des Moines Parks executive director.

2023 marks the second year of these equipment giveaways, and the officials behind them told Local 5 they're still seeing those donations paying dividends for families looking to get back into the game this season. 

"We're finding that they're bringing back the balls that they received last year. So, we know that these are becoming prized possessions for them and really supporting them as they journey on in their sport adventure," said Jenny Richmond, assistant director at the Des Moines Parks and Recreation.

But as any parent of an aspiring young athlete can tell you, gear isn't the only cost. 

League registration fees are another potential roadblock. Fortunately, there's help available in that department too, for any students who are on free or reduced lunch during the school year.

"A lot of these kids that are out here are on a $5 scholarship program. Our effort is to try to eliminate any barriers to kids getting out and being active and having fun and participating in sports," Lohmeier said.

And that gear giveaway isn't just for soccer, either. Lohmeier told Local 5 that kids will also be able to get volleyballs, baseballs, football, and basketballs during their respective seasons, too.

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