Baseball programs raise funds for damaged snack shack in Kearns
What seemed to be a devastating blow to a Kearns youth baseball program turned into a source of benevolence. And the lessons learned from sportsmanship and camaraderie exhibited by fellow ballplayers will be something Kearns’ teams will long remember.
Sometime during the evening of April 29, vandals smashed into the snack shack at the Oquirrh Park triplex in Kearns, stealing about $400 worth of candy and drinks, and $85 in cash. Because sales from the shack support the baseball programs—paying for umpires, baseball supplies and field maintenance, the loss of inventory and equipment was a severe blow. Until players and coaches with the Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper heard about it.
Thanks to a 48-hour fundraising effort by JDCHS, a check for $1,500 was presented to Kearns Babe Ruth officials from both Juan Diego and Saint John the Baptist baseball programs on May 3.
“When I learned what had happened here, I knew we had to do something,” said Kelly Davis, a coach at JDCHS. “I challenged the coaches and said, ‘Can you give up your Starbucks for a day and give us $10 to help out?’ The response was amazing.”
Coupled with a bucket for donations placed at the Juan Diego-Judge Memorial baseball game on May 2, $1,500 was collected. Davis and Fred Ross from Saint John the Baptist Baseball presented a check to Andy Curtis, president of the Kearns Babe Ruth program. Players from all of the programs were present for a ceremony at the snack shack.
“I coached here myself 18 years ago,” Davis said, “so this place has always had a soft place in my heart. What all of these volunteer parents do for these kids is community service, it helps build character in these kids. We were just glad we could help.”
“The community response in just four days has been overwhelming,” Curtis said. “This donation will not only help us restock what we lost, but also allow us to get some improved equipment.”
He said there are 16 teams with players ranging in age from 4-12 who play at the complex.
“All of our parents are volunteers. When their kids aren’t playing, they’re helping man the snack shack. The money we make helps us to keep our player fees low.”
Ross said his school plays in a league that is just two years old. “I know how important every penny is when you’re supporting a program, so when I learned of this, I contacted by fellow coaches at Juan Diego and we set things in motion.”
Curtis said the Kearns league will hold a Community Night event at the triplex on Monday, May 13.
“We’re inviting the community to come out, watch some games, support the players and enjoy the snack shack,” he said. “We’ll raise some money, but just as importantly, we’ll raise awareness of this program and how many young boys and girls it supports.”
By league play that evening, and going forward, the snack shack was back in business, thanks to the generosity of two other baseball programs whose youth once played in leagues like those in Kearns.