With sports equipment a big expense for so many families, Nutley is stepping up a program to help out parents.
The township’s SEEK , or Sports Equipment Encourages Kid program, encourages residents to recycle “gently used” sports equipment for parents’ student athletes, according to Commissioner Mauro Tucci, director of the department of parks and recreation.
Such equipment includes baseball gloves, bats, baseball pants, sliding shorts, cleats, soccer shorts, socks, shin guards, cleats, lacrosse sticks and many other types of equipment," he said.
“All are available at no charge,” Tucci said. “We are looking to help parents supply the needed equipment to their children.”
SEEK was started in 2012 by Nutley High student Isaac Lindenbaum.
He said he wanted to share his athletic equipment that he no longer used or needed.
Lindenbaum approached Mayor Alphonse Petracco and together they developed the SEEK program. A donation drive was held in September 2012 with “overwhelming success,” Petracco said.
Tucci said that Nutley has more than 125 recreation programs, ranging from those for toddlers to many for seniors, and he said the quality of life is improved by having a wide variety of sports activities.
Although many families are slowly recovering from the effects of the recession, money problems are still affecting many other families, Tucci said, so anything that people can do to contribute is needed badly.
He said the still tough economic climate makes the need even greater to have the most programs possible, and officials do not want to see anyone stopped from participating now.
Officials are also collecting plastic bins to store equipment before distribution.
Any family in need of equipment for children participating in sports through high school or in any of the recreation programs should contact the Department of Public Safety at 973-284-4929 to find out how to benefit from this program. All requests will be kept confidential.