Checking in with our community partners for Play Packs feedback
WNY, February 26th 2021
Last summer and around Thanksgiving, Victory Sports distributed 2600 Play Packs to children in all eight counties of WNY. Each pack contained several small items to help kids play and stay physically active during a strange and difficult year. It is so vital for their physical and mental health as well as their cognitive development that children keep active. Even without a pandemic, too many kids struggle to do so due to a lack of resources and inspiration at home.
Given we primarily act as a “backbone” organization, providing equipment and resources to community organizations and families (rather than running programs ourselves), we often rely on our partners to provide feedback and outcomes of our work. We teamed up with several organizations around WNY to help us get the packs into the hands of kids most in need of support. Last week we caught up with a few of our partners to find out how the packs had been used, what the kids liked most, and what they might want to see in the next round of packs!
We gave 100 packs to Melissa Payne from Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development (ACCORD) to use for their Holiday Assistance Program and she passed on this awesome feedback from some of the recipients:
“The kids loved the jump rope. The dog ended up getting the ball, but that was ok because the kids were throwing it to her, so they ended up playing together”…..”The jump rope was a big hit, and they used the bags for everything”….”They were awesome and really appreciated. The kids were playing with the frisbee in the house. We were all on quarantine and it was nice that they could get their energy out and play together.”
We spoke to Greg Reed from G.L.O.W. YMCA about the packs we gave them to distribute at YMCA sites in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming. This was a great partnership for us because the packs were incorporated into after-school and child-care programs so we could keep up to date with how they were used.
“All our kids in Medina wrote their names on the packs and were able to go to them each day when we called for some play time. It was a real help having enough packs to give one to each child as it meant to issues with sanitizing. At some of our other locations the kids took them home and I know the frisbee and jump-rope provided lots of fun.”
And finally, Sandi Burnage at the Salamanca Youth Bureau talked us through how she used the packs:
“We served 83 families and 192 children during a Christmas drive and the packs were a real hit. We also had kids coming to our youth center and as it was winter, they were all stuck inside in our gym and the jump-ropes worked a treat. Back in the summer too when the kids were outside, the playground balls were always being used. Mental health has become such a big challenge for our kids in the last year, even more than usual. Next time, it could be great to get those squishy stress balls in the packs and perhaps with helpline telephone numbers printed on them so kids have someone to call? And more sidewalk chalk – lots of colors would be great too!”
We know the items in a Play Pack aren’t enough to take the place of regular sports and recreation programs that children should be enjoying, but in the circumstances, we are delighted to hear that the children were able enjoy using the packs and get some blood pumping while doing so!
Many thanks to Perry’s Ice Cream for showing their support to Victory Sports and our beloved Buffalo Sabres Foundation for distributing the funds. The Play Packs are the brainchild of Project Play WNY who we worked with in the summer to deliver the first batch of 1600 packs. Huge thanks to them and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr Foundation.
If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. If you would like to support future efforts, please consider donating to Victory Sports.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this campaign and we’ll be in touch again soon!