Catholic Athletes for Christ raises over $18,400 from sports equipment drive

Over the course of one week, students brought in old equipment to donate to Leveling the Playing Field

Chris Ayres, Sports Editor

Robby DiFabio ‘22 first thought of running a service opportunity while thinking about college.

“I was looking at Cialfo and wanted to do something impactful and something that would really benefit my community,” said DiFabio. “It switched from something I wanted to do for college to something I was very passionate about.”

DiFabio said his original idea was on a much smaller scale, but he decided to bring it to Catholic Athletes for Christ. 

“I just wanted it to be a small thing in school and maybe donate it somewhere in the area, but as a Catholic athlete, I decided to bring it to others who I thought would also be interested in it,” he stated. “Once I brought it up, I had picked out a company and made a presentation for it as well.”

When the idea for a sports equipment drive was suggested, Mr. Alex Haynie, leader of Catholic Athletes for Christ, immediately thought it was a great idea.

”Earlier this year when Robby approached me and asked if our club CAC would be interested in doing sports equipment donation drive, I thought it actually was a perfect thing for our group to take advantage of and to try to help with,” said Haynie. “It was his idea, but when he pitched it to our group during one of our meetings, everybody was immediately excited and interested in supporting him and the whole initiative.”

Once the idea was presented, Haynie said that the CAC leaders started the process of setting up the drive.

“We have six student leaders, three seniors, two juniors and one sophomore, and they did a great job meeting with me each week and kind of figuring out all the necessary items that we’re gonna have to have,” he said. “We started to meet more regularly to figure out how we’re going to bring it to fruition and make it happen, and the CAC leadership team student leadership team was really behind it in a great way.”

Similar to DiFabio, some underclassmen had a similar idea and decided to collaborate with the CAC.

“A group of freshmen, led by Shane Powelson, had the same idea with the same company, so we paired with them for the drive,” said DiFabio. “They were a huge help, they gathered the underclassmen to donate and brought some great new ideas.”

Originally supposed to be a one day event, DiFabio said that Haynie brought up the idea of a week-long donation opening.

“At first we were going to have one day on the weekend, but then Mr. Haynie brought up the idea of a week-long event every morning,” DiFabio stated. “This allowed people to donate on a daily basis.”

Haynie believed that stretching the window for donations over the course of a week would lead to a more successful drive.

“I think it’s in some ways easier to pull off than a big Saturday afternoon all-day event because it’s really just asking everybody to contribute a little bit, as opposed to asking a lot of people to contribute an entire day or something like that. I think the repeated asks that different guys in the CAC group were making were really helpful,” said Haynie. “We decided to do it throughout the whole week because we knew the guys on Monday or Tuesday might see the reminders, but then forget and so hopefully by Wednesday Thursday Friday they would actually bring stuff in.”

The money is being donated to Leveling the Playing Field, a non-profit youth sports charity that gives used equipment to those who need it.

“They received over seven million dollars in donations last year and do great work,” said DiFabio. “They answered very quickly and were extremely easy to communicate with. We are really happy to help kids that don’t have the same opportunities as us.”

According to Haynie, the success of the event is not only because of the members of CAC, but also the students who brought in donations.

“I think it was just a big team effort, tons of guys in the CAC group, asking different guys to bring in,” he said. “I think also it speaks to the generosity of the community and we realize that we’ve been blessed in many ways, and so guys were happy to contribute from the things that they have.”

DiFabio said that he was shocked when he learned how much the drive raised, but it was much more than just about money.

“I didn’t think about how much money it was, we were all focused on the impact it would have on the kids,” DiFabio stated. “Sports are a huge part of development for kids and could make an incredible difference in the lives of so many kids.”