Blake Miller, a junior at Palmer Trinity School who has chaired the Patriot Outreach program for the past four years. coordinates the organization’s drive in south Miami-Dade County to collect used — but still useable — athletic equipment, clothing and sneakers which are sorted, boxed and shipped to the Dominican Republic.
These items are then distributed to impoverished children in the Higuey and Punta Cana areas of the country.
The recycled equipment and clothing gives the Dominican Republic youth an opportunity to participate in athletics, much the same as boys and girls do here in South Florida.
Patriot Outreach members have been conducting the annual drive for eight consecutive years and the organization in that time has collected more than 65,000 pieces of sports equipment, uniforms, shoes and related gear. This year, the Patriot Outreach board is comprised of students from many of the area high schools. In addition to Miller, the board members are Keaton Zargham, Ryan Booth and Jett Caplin from Palmetto High School; Alex Hartnett of Coral Reef High School; Ryan Merritt of Christopher Columbus High School, and T.J. North of Westminster Christian School.
“We have played sports together and against each other for the last 10 years,” Miller said. “This group of old friends pooled resources and organized a community-wide effort to collect more than 5,000 sports items this collection.” This year the drop-off location is Suniland Park, 12855 S. Dixie Hwy. In Pinecrest, Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., now through Apr. 30. Just pull your car to the front of the building, there will be a drop-off box in front of the office.
If you have any questions, send email to Blake at firstname.lastname@example.org.