Baseballs, gloves, bats to head to Nicaragua
ABERDEEN, S.D. — Around 22,000 pounds of wood, metal, leather and cork will make its way south this fall.
It’s a migration of care and the love of baseball.
Local Evangelical Lutheran Church in America parishes have been collecting baseballs, softballs and all the ancillary equipment for the sports to send to Nicaragua.
The project was born in Flandreau with Craig and Joan Severtson. The equipment drive is part of an effort called Helping Kids Round First . The couple started the donation drives around 2009. In 2013, the mission was established as a formal nonprofit that now runs with the help of hundreds of people, Craig Severtson told the Aberdeen News by phone.
The donations will head out of the U.S. in October to the Nicaragua Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope. Baseball is the national sport of the impoverished country; the donations are well-received.
“The comparison tells you everything, when kids play baseball made out of a rock covered in a sock, hit with a tree stick. They love the games, just like we do back here,” Craig Severtson said.
Some of those kids who’ve been beneficiaries of the Helping Kids Round First program have gone on to sign with Minor League Baseball outfits. They include Nixson Munoz with the Dominican Summer League Red Sox and Christopher Osorio and Martin Zamoro with the Dominican Summer League Rockies.
In the past, Northern State University, Presentation College and other baseball enthusiasts from surrounding communities have participated in the drive that’s now been going a dozen years.
Along with Helping Kids Round First, the Severtsons’ missions to Nicaragua also help in other ways — with HIV support and agricultural support, including irrigation, for example.
“There’s a reason we are in Nicaragua. It’s poorest country in Central America. Why not go where the needs are the greatest?” Severtson said.
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