(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)
A setback for the Savin Hill Little League prompted a dramatic display of community support as residents, businesses, and politicians donate to help the league prepare for its season opener and recover from the theft of its equipment.
Over the weekend, an estimated $5,000 worth of gear -- gloves, uniforms, bats, and helmets -- was stolen from the league’s storage locker at McConnell Park in Dorchester. Now, an outpouring of support from the community has helped the league raise the money to replace the equipment, and then some.
“It’s overwhelming to be honest,” said Tony King, president of the league.
After the theft was first reported by the Dorchester Reporter on Wednesday, the league started receiving donations. On Thursday, the Boston Fire Fighter’s Local 718 Children’s Fund donated the final $3,000 to fill the gap.
“We heard about it and gave Councilor Frank Baker a call and asked what he needed,” said Richard Paris, president of the union. “I know what the equipment means to the kids, especially with opening day just around the corner.”
"That league is extremely important," said Mike Mullane, a Savin Hill native and 3rd district vice president for the international association of firefighters. "Every kid in the area plays in the league; it's part of the neighborhood's fabric."
Although enough money has been raised to cover the cost of the lost equipment, King said, donations and support keep coming in: Rebook provided 12 sets of catcher’s gear, Quincy-based Good Sports 35 new bats, and area businesses pledged money.
“It just shows what kind of community we’re from,” said Baker, a Savin Hill resident who helped organize donations. “It shows what we’re made of and when something bad happens how we rise to the occasion.”
While a potential major blow to the league has been avoided, King said a lot of positives have also come out of the bad situation.
“We’re taking the positive out of the negative,” said King. “We’re also looking to pay it forward, once we recover from the losses any left over money or equipment we want to donate to other area leagues.”
Now the approximately 200 youths who take part in the league will have an opening day to remember.
King added that the league will be looking into better securing its locker and that a police report has been filed.
The league is asking people who want to donate or may have information to contact the league through its website or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.