• John Jantak

Baseball St. Lazare donates old uniforms to youngsters in the Dominican Republic


PHOTO COURTESY BASEBALL SAINT-LAZARE

Children’s baseball teams in the Dominican Republic are benefitting from the donations of uniforms and equipment made by Baseball St. Lazare.

Baseball St. Lazare has found a novel way of recycling players’ old uniforms instead of disposing of them in the trash – they’ve decided to donate the used outfits and baseball equipment to schools in the Dominican Republic.

Jacky Connolly, Treasurer of the non-profit Baseball St. Lazare, told Your Local Journal the decision to donate their used uniforms began about four years ago when a day camp in Ste. Marthe sur le lac on Quebec’s north shore inquired whether some of the uniforms could be donated to their young players.

Despite the positive reception that the baseball league received from the day camp, it was harder to donate the remaining uniforms as other municipalities they approached didn’t want jerseys that were emblazoned with the Baseball St. Lazare logo.

“The former president of the league said we have get rid of the uniforms, we’re going to throw them in the garbage and we told him not to,” said Connolly. “As a mom, I couldn’t throw good items into the garbage.”

After playing with Baseball St. Lazare, Connolly’s son 12-year-old Jacob Nutt now plays baseball with the Montreal Titans Baseball Club. Nutt then met fellow team mate Yohan Quesada whose family is from the Dominican Republic.

“I was talking to the boy’s mother, Julissa Santos, and she said that every year before the start of the school year in September, they send school supplies to the Dominican Republic,” said Connolly. “They also send a package of goods in December before Christmas.

“I met with her and she was interested in the uniforms,” Connolly added. “I brought a car load full of uniforms. There was enough to furnish five teams from three schools. We want this to become a regular routine because we know they need it. Now that spring training has begun, we’ll be asking parents to consider donating old cleats, gloves, and other accessories.”

The initiative started by Connolly along with the league’s registrar Connie O’Connell ensures old uniforms are given a second life. Connolly said when a youngster’s uniform no longer fits, a family will typically discard it and buy a new one. The initiative to recycle old uniforms by giving them to needy children ensures they will be given a new life, she said.

Connolly said Baseball St. Lazare also sends old bats that are dented but can still be used for practice, mitts, and cleats. Connolly is also requesting that parents consider donating their kid’s old sneakers because many children in the Dominican Republic play barefoot.

“It’s so nice to give to people who need it,” said Connolly. “We spoke to the parents during the start of spring training about donating their children’s old uniforms and they said, ‘What a great idea’. We also told our president Yan Léger about our initiative and he said, ‘Wow, good job!’”

The Beltre Baseball School, Los Santos Baseball School and Union deportiva la Comunidad, located in the Dominican Republic province of Santiago all benefitted from the donations. With the success of the initiative started by Connolly and O’Connell, they plan to contact other baseball leagues in the area to propose that their players’ old uniforms and accessories be donated.

Registration for the 2016 season of Baseball St. Lazare is being held March 17 at the St. Lazare Community Centre, 1301 rue du Bois. For more information, visit the league’s website at http://tinyurl.com/j3v7g4t.

To see more photos of the Dominican Republic teams, see our Facebook page.

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