Mequon – Lake Shore Middle School student Arin Hirsch wanted to do something sports-related for her bat mitzvah project.
When a girl of the Jewish faith reaches age 12 they undergo a bat mitzvah ceremony, which also includes doing a charitable project.
Hirsch collected a few hundred pounds of sporting goods for GloBall Giving, a Milwaukee-based organization that donates new and used sporting equipment to children in developing countries, according to its Facebook page.
Wendy Hirsch, Arin’s mother, said this was a passion project for her daughter, not just something she had to do because she is very into sports. Her favorites are basketball and soccer.
“It’s a passion of hers,” she said. “It’s something she worked towards versus just doing something once to check a box.”
Arin Hirsch said she learned about GloBall Giving through a friend and she put in an application to be able to donate. She said she put donation bins up by the synagogue her family attends as well as in front of her home.
The day the donation bins were picked up, a couple kids from inner-city Milwaukee high schools were there to pick up football cleats, Wendy Hirsch said. She said it really showed the need.
Wendy Hirsch said invitations were sent out to family and friends to let them know about the donation opportunity. She said the collection started in summer, around August, and ended the second week of October.
Some donated sports equipment while others just gave checks, Arin Hirsch said.
Once the collection was over, the Hirsch family had a carload full of old and new sports equipment. Everything from baseball bats to karate equipment was loaded into the family car.
“It was about as much as you could fit to fill an SUV,” Wendy Hirsch said, sounding proud of her daughter’s accomplishment.
When asked about the amount she ended up collecting, Arin Hirsch sounded very happily surprised.
“It was way more than I was expecting,” she said.
Arin and Wendy Hirsch said some of the items will go to the Boys and Girls Club, some to Green Peace, some items will also go to schools, and some across the world to areas like Peru and The Philippines.
“It seems pretty cool it was just an idea and now I’m providing for kids across the world,” Arin Hirsch said.
Her mother also seemed to enjoy the experience.
“It was really fun,” she said.
With many different charitable organizations out there, picking one to spend time with can be difficult. Arin Hirsch shared some thoughts for those thinking about volunteering.
“You should do it,” she said. “It was fun, but you’re also making big impact.”
One of those who donated was a friend’s father who works as the athletic director at a local high school. According to Wendy and Arin Hirsch, he went through the equipment the school had to see what could be donated.
Equipment has been sent to more than two dozen countries through GloBall Giving. Founder Mark Rolison said a "light bulb went off" while on a trip to Kenya and he witnessed the donation of three soccer balls to 250 schoolchildren.
"This typical school had no sporting equipment and opted to forgo any sports because of it," Rolison said in a letter on the official GloBall Giving website. "The absolute pure excitement these children exuded from three soccer balls is extremely difficult to put into words."
According to its website, GloBall Giving thinks "every child deserves a chance to play."