Boys & Girls Club gets sports equipment

Local celebrities and media personalities, including a team from The Advocate’s New Orleans edition, turned up for a shopping spree Dec. 12 to purchase $6,300 worth of sporting goods and equipment for the Boys & Girls Club NFL Youth Education Town Unit in New Orleans.

The spree was sponsored by AT&T. Academy Sports & Outdoors on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie hosted the event.

Five teams were given a shopping list of needed equipment. Each list had about $1,000 worth of products.

The teams raced to collect all their items within five minutes, and the top finishers, the team from WWL-TV, collected a medal.

A truck then delivered the goods to 100 waiting kids at the Boys & Girls Club.

Due to its deteriorating condition, the gym at the Boys & Girls Club will be razed in January, said Darrell Guy Sr., director of the club. It will take many months to rebuild.

But this Christmas, the kids have brand-new, high-quality sports equipment for golf, soccer, football, basketball, baseball, ping-pong and other activities to keep them busy. The new equipment also will be used in the new gym .

Participants included actor and producer Nicoye Banks (“Green Zone” with Matt Damon; “Invincible” with Mark Wahlberg), former NBA player Thomas Hill, Boys & Girls Club of New Orleans representatives and members of the staff of The Advocate New Orleans edition.

The total tab was more than $6,300 for all the new goods.

The club is large and the only one in Orleans Parish. The shopping spree provided the club with indoor and outdoor play equipment, including flag football equipment, professional soccer goals and gear, outfitting for golf, baseball equipment and new basketball goals, Guy said. More than 200 balls were purchased for various sports.

For indoors, they have two ping-pong tables and two foosball tables in addition to individual play goods.

There are more than 400 enrolled members in the NFL Youth Education Town unit in New Orleans. One hundred kids are enrolled in the after-school program, which helps kids with homework and structured play, Guy said.

While the club is sponsored by a sports organization, it is a typical Boys & Girls Club, with an academic focus and creative arts activities.

This January, the club is adding a fashion sewing class conducted by Sue Sperry, of AT&T, and inspired by Anthony Ryan Auld, the Baton Rouge fashion designer from “Project Runway.”

The New Orleans Club is part of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana, managed from Baton Rouge.