July 16th, 2018

Lions Club hoping to help more Hat children Gear Up in 2017

By Mo Cranker on August 6, 2017.

Lions Club of Medicine Hat member James Higgins poses for a photo with some gently-used hockey gear. He says the group will be holding its annual Gear Up campaign later this month, to help local kids get into sports. -- NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER


The Lions Club of Medicine Hat is gearing up for one of its largest annual fundraisers.

The Gear Up campaign, now in its sixth year, encourages Hatters to look through their basements, garages and crawlspaces for any hockey or ringette equipment that is no longer needed.

“I pitched this idea six years ago because I just wanted to help some folks out,” said Lions Club member James Higgins. “I know there’s a lot of people in the community that can’t afford to put all, or any of their kids through sports because of the price. Gear up is designed to help those people out a bit with the high cost to play these sports.”

The event is being held from August 25-27, with Friday and Saturday being donation drop-off days from 1-6 p.m. at the Hockey Hounds Arena. Sunday is the day anyone in need of the equipment can grab some. That part of the event will be held at the same arena from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Club is open to almost all equipment for both sports, but is asking people to not donate things like mouth guards or jocks. Higgins says skates are the most in-demand item.

“We give out skates really quickly,” he said. “The really nice skates can cost hundreds. We see a lot of families coming in need of skates, and we do whatever we can to help them out, but it all depends on what people have donated.”

Other items the Club is looking for are goalie pads, CSA approved helmets, shin and elbow pads , gloves and sticks.

Higgins says the idea came as a way of getting more kids in the community active.

“Putting a kid into sports gets him away from the Playstation or computer for a little while,” he said. “There’s so many good things that can come from playing sports — I don’t think it’s fair that some kids have to miss out.”

For more information on the event you can call James at 403-527-0140.

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