The devastating floods that affected much of Louisiana in August continue to have far-reaching effects.
In North Carolina, Neil Shepard, founder of Kids Come 1st — a charity that collects and refurbishes used baseball equipment and sends to children around the country who don't have any — was prompted to react after hearing several Little League baseball organizations lost their equipment in the floodwater.
"We feel every kid who wants to play baseball should have a mitt," Shepard said. "I try to get manufacturers to donate equipment. What isn't donated, I try to pay for with fundraisers or purchase myself."
Through the Little League World Series organization in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for baseball, softball and challenger teams, Shepard was put in touch with Michelle Sigrist, District 2 administrator for Southeast Louisiana Little League.
Shepard and Sigrist worked together to organize a shipment of eight boxes, containing new and used bats, balls, gloves, a batting cage and pitching screen that arrived at the Baker Fire Department on Sept. 15.
The shipment was inventoried by Sigrist and Baker Fire Chief Danny Edwards, who were joined by Baker Police Chief Karl Dunn.
"The Walker teams saved a lot of their baseballs, but they need gloves," Sigrist said. "The majority of the equipment will go to Baker, which lost everything."
Sigrist, who works for the Baker Police Department and previously worked for the Baker Fire Department, said both of the first responder agencies are supporters of Baker Little League. The equipment will be sorted and distributed to Baker teams, which lost everything, and the Walker Little League Challenger teams.
"It pleases us to think people have us in mind," Dunn said. "With all we've been going through, we're more than grateful to receive this equipment from Neil and Kids Come 1st."
Shepard said he remained involved in youth sports after his son, who grew up playing little league, eventually left home to attend and play ball at the University of Georgia.