The Press-Telegram’s Let’s Play Ball campaign will have its first-ever drive-thru event later this week, so readers can drop off new sports balls from the convenience of their cars.
The drive-thru will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Personnel Commission Offices of the Long Beach Unified School District, 4400 Ladoga Ave., in Lakewood, site of the former Monroe K-8 school.
The drive-thru will take place by the parking lot on Nipomo Avenue.
“We are excited about helping kids get these new balls,” said Rasheka Henry, academic director for the LBUSD Expanded Learning Program. “All people will have to do is drive by and drop off balls in the bins. They won’t have to get out of their cars.”
For the first time, LBUSD is partnering with the Press-Telegram and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach in the newspaper’s fourth annual campaign asking readers to donate new sports balls, as well as money, for the clubs’ sports, fitness and recreation programs. Also for the first time, the Press-Telegram is being joined by the Grunion Gazette, its sister publication, in this campaign.
For years, LBUSD has partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs, offering afterschool programs and other learning opportunities for club members.
That’s why it was an easy decision for LBUSD to participate in the Let’s Play Ball campaign — or as Deborah DeDen, LBUSD’s Expanded Learning program administrator, put it, “a slam dunk.”
In addition to holding the drive-thru event, LBUSD will place bins at nine school sites starting Monday where residents will be able to drop off balls. There are other locations across Long Beach listed below. The clubs are in need of all kinds of balls, including basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, baseballs, volleyballs, tennis balls and dodge balls.
“This is is such good news,” said Don Rodriguez, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach. “We are excited about partnering with LBUSD for the Let’s Play Ball drive. We have had a longstanding relationship with LBUSD, and this will help more kids in Long Beach.” Deadline for dropping off the balls is Dec. 17.
Rodriguez said the clubs-LBUSD afterschool program consists of one hour of homework help and tutoring, one hour of recreation/sports, with the other time filled with enrichment activities, like STEM, art, Project Learn and Healthy Habits.
Press-Telegram readers donated more than 2,000 balls in 2020, breaking the record from the year before. The goal this year is to set another record.
There are two ways you can help with this year’s ball drive:
–You may drop off new sports balls at various locations throughout the Greater Long Beach area, including the nine new school sites. A list of locations is available below. Thanks to the participation of Big 5 Sports Goods, you can buy balls at their locations at a 25% discount.
–You also may order donations online via Amazon and other web retailers and have balls sent directly to the B&G Clubs of Long Beach main office, 3635 Long Beach Blvd. You also may donate gift cards from stories to the clubs.
Here are locations where you may drop off new sports balls:
–Big 5 Sporting Goods: 4870 Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach; 5247 Lakewood Blvd., Lakewood.
–Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach: main office, 3635 Long Beach Blvd.; Dean A. Eastman/Fairfield Club, 700 E. Del Amo Blvd.; Freeman E. Fairfield/Westside Center, 1835 W. Willard St.; John C. & Alice Wallace Boys/Girls Club, 1929 Lemon Ave. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
–First Bank: 6200 E. Pacific Coast Highway and 4040 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; 5195 Lakewood Blvd., Lakewood.
–Phil Trani’s Restaurant: 3490 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach.
–Boathouse on the Bay Restaurant: 190 N. Marina Drive, Long Beach.
–LBUSD school sites: Cleveland Elementary, 760 Hackett Ave., Lakewood; Chavez Elementary, 730 W. Third St.; Jordan High School, 6500 Atlantic Ave.; Holmes Elementary, 5020 Barlin Ave., Lakewood; Herrera Elementary, 1620 Temple Ave.; Dooley Elementary, 5075 Long Beach Blvd.; Tincher Preparatory, 1701 Petaluma Ave.; Rogers Middle, 365 Monrovia Ave., and Marshall Middle, 5870 E. Wardlow Road.
–Unify Financial Credit Union: 4637 Candlewood St., Lakewood.
Thank you in advance for helping kids and making a difference in their lives during this holiday season.
Information: Kari Cho, B&G Clubs marketing director, 562-595-5945 or [email protected]