LPF equipment drive is a homerun

Nicole Weaver

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Photo by Jillian Ward

The vice president of LPF, Sydney Stein fills the truck with the donated sports equipment from this year’s holiday drive. After just two days of donations, the club collected a wide variety of sports goods to fill the trailer up to the top.

For all athletes, the most important thing for their sport is access to equipment. The WJ chapter of the Maryland youth sports non-profit charity organization, Leveling the Playing Field (LPF), has a mission to ensure all young athletes have the opportunity to play their sports with the right equipment.

The WJ LPF club helps provide sports equipment for children locally and has branches all across Maryland to create a more “level playing field” for all young athletes. They hold fundraisers, donations, collection drives and more to achieve their goal. People can support this organization by donating and purchasing items from the WJ LPF Amazon Wishlist to help local kids get off the sidelines.

The organization, as a whole, has collected $7.5 million dollars worth of equipment. This charity has made a tremendous impact in the lives of more than 100,000 young athletes in Maryland. On a national and international scale, the LPF organization has received numerous donations to shape what it has become today.

President senior Jillian Ward founded the WJ chapter of the organization in the fall of 2020 and already received a large amount of donations in the first year of operation. They held an equipment drive in November 2020 which successfully donated a variety of sports equipment to the LPF distribution warehouse in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“This club started during Covid and we tried our best to do drives and fundraising but it was definitely hard, we had to drive to people’s homes and pick [equipment] up on different days because of Covid,” secretary Ellie Hilton said.

This year, the club was able to make the donation drive a drop-off event on December 11th and 12th from 12pm-3pm in the WJ Athletic Circle. Donors brought baseball bats, football pads, basketballs, cleats, helmets and many other items listed on their Instagram page.

“Children who don’t have these materials at home are now able to play soccer, ride bikes, play basketball, and all those things, now they don’t have to worry that their parents aren’t able to afford those materials,” club sponsor Sarah Ducklow said.

They received almost a full trailer of equipment in just two days of the equipment drive. Sydney Stein, the vice president of the club hopes the club will receive even more attention than it has to spread the cause and continue to support more young athletes in the local community.

“This club has helped young athletes in our local area by taking the used equipment we have collected and giving it to the young athletes in need, so they are able to play the sports they want to,” Stein said.

As the club grows, the senior club officers hope that this club continues to live on when they leave and have planned for new officers to run it again next year.

In addition to this holiday equipment drive, the club plans to hold more donation drives in the future after the success with the past few drives. The club has contributed to a level playing field all across Maryland and will continue to do so as the legacy of this club moves on. For more information about the organization, visit the Maryland LPF website to find other ways to volunteer and donate.