On a field at a Washington elementary school, students hold soccer practice. They are in a free after-school program for youth in an underprivileged community.
Fourth grader Azaria Lee shows off her cleats and shin guards.
“I like playing soccer and it makes me happy when I play soccer,” she says.
It’s clear that playing a sport at a young age has many benefits.
But for low-income families that struggle to pay bills and put food on the table, sports equipment can be too expensive for their children.
Max Levitt saw the problem, and he believed no child should be denied playing sports because of the cost.
So he founded Leveling the Playing Field four years ago. The non-profit organization collects used sports equipment and puts it in the hands of those in need.
“I played every sport,” Levitt says. “I was lucky enough that my family could afford to give me that opportunity. But it bothers me that there are thousands and thousands of kids every day who are unable to play sports because of the cost. That is really sad.”
Levitt used to work in college athletics and youth sports. There, he realized there was a simple solution.
“Every year, all of the sporting equipment that we were using in the previous season got thrown away. So I figured if there’s a huge waste of sporting equipment in America going on and there’s an incredible need in our impoverished neighborhoods right around the corner. We got to do something about this,” says Levitt.
Levitt started collecting equipment in his parent’s basement. His operation now has grown to a 370-square-meter warehouse space. The giant boxes and tall shelves there are filled with thousands of baseball gloves and hats, soccer balls, cleats, hockey skate, helmets, lacrosse sticks, golf clubs and more…