Bats, cleats, shin guards, helmets, balls, gloves and any sports equipment can get a new life through the Sports Equipment Exchange Program in Washington. The program is a partnership of the Parents in Education middle school parent group and the YMCA of Washington County. Mary Gilchrist who helps to organize the exchange says it’s an opportunity for equipment to be used by any children in the community. Families can stop by the exchange the first Saturday of the month during the school year and get gently used or new equipment. She said they recently had a family stop by to get two pairs of basketball shoes for their sons, “They were just excited that not only that we have this in our community, but that we were using equipment again and it wasn’t winding up in a landfill, it wasn’t winding up in a closet and not being used. And the biggest response we hear is, we’re excited it gets to be used again.”

During the month of December they are hosting a donation drive, “The exchange has been giving away a lot of their equipment and we’re now ready to restock our lightly used or new equipment. In the month of December we’re also offering an incentive, so for each donation that you drop off to the Y we’re going to give you an entry for a drawing. And that drawing is going to lead to a Scheels gift card, which they generously gave us. So we’re looking for balls, helmets, shin guards, bats, cleats, gloves, anything that is in good shape that you would pass down to your own children.” The program is accepting all sizes for all sports, and some donations have come from the University of Iowa. Donations can be dropped off at the YMCA front desk in downtown Washington.