VALDOSTA – Sixteen-thousand dollars were donated to the Miracle League of Valdosta to better help adults and children with disabilities.
The Caddyshack Pub Crawl, hosted by the Azalea City Civic Club May 22, raised the money.
The plan, according to Andy Gibbs, Miracle League director, is to use the money for scholarships.
Some of the area athletes can't afford the $35 registration fee to join the Miracle League; so no questions asked, he said, the league takes care of it.
“We do have some caretakers that, once again, through funding they might need a few things so players can get to the field,” Gibbs said.
The money will also be used to make sure the equipment is up to date – gloves, bats, hats, jerseys, etc. It’s all to make sure the players are enjoying the game of baseball, he said.
“We talked about getting some portable soccer goals,” Gibbs said. “Miracle (Field Complex) actually has a U-10 soccer field painted on the outfield. Then we’re going to get some portable basketball goals so we can start having basketball tournaments, games and stuff.”
The funds need to go straight back to the kids so they’ll have what they need to have fun, especially during the summer.
Bryan Deal, an Azalea City Civic Club member, said the event started as a way to give back to “worthy beneficiaries” while supporting downtown businesses.
As a group, a board and an organization, Miracle League is a “worthy beneficiary," Deal said, because of its activity in the community.
Miracle League is always preparing or doing something in the community whether asking for volunteers for kickball and baseball games, getting money for and opening a ball field specialized for people with disabilities or hosting a ping pong race to gain support during the pandemic.
The club raised more money than in years past, Deal said.
“Financially, we went up about $4,000 from the prior year and about $12,000 from the original year we started this event,” he said. “In terms of attendance, we had about 250 people show up.”
People were maybe “itching” to get out of the house, Deal said, but they definitely wanted to support the event more than anything.
Gibbs said he saw a lot of people he didn’t know there.
“But they knew about Miracle League,” Gibbs said. “It was kind of cool and exciting that people there are supporting the Miracle League that I’ve never met or never seen.
“One couple that I met through some mutual friend (said), ‘We came here from out of town for this,’” he said. “‘Our friends were like hey, we got you tickets. You’ve got to come for this.’”
It was neat to know the event and the efforts to help people with disabilities reached outside of city-county limits, he said.
The Caddyshack Pub Crawl will return spring 2022 and the Miracle League will continue having events into 2021. Registration for athletes is open at https://app.myezreg.com/Leagues/Login/mlvaldosta.