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(AYF) – Last week, with ravaging winds and rain, Hurricane Sandy swept through the East Coast, leaving devastation in its path and countless numbers of people uprooted from their homes.
Yet after the darkness of the storm, a light is shining. The nation has come together to help support their own with donations and provisions from coast to coast.
American Youth Football (AYF) is no exception. With countless items allocated and donated from the National Office to the Jersey Shore and others overwhelmed by Sandy, the company’s mission of “Giving Back” when in need is driving its operation.
“The destruction from this storm is simply catastrophic,” said AYF President Joe Galat. “New Jersey and our Jersey Shore Conference in particular were hit hardest, and it is our duty to support our own.”
AYF knows the importance of being there when others are down. In 2005 when Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, AYF went into action, delivering truckloads of supplies. Now, after Sandy, AYF has again taken a lead in its community support with donations consisting of boxes of shirts and blankets, to Gatorade, Crayons, towels and sheets.
And it doesn’t stop with the AYF National Office. AYF Conferences from far and wide are activating to help other conferences in need.
“Here I was watching the news and getting ready for my team’s playoff game,” said Damon Whalon, Assistant Coach for the North Sacramento Hurricanes of AYF's Nor Cal Conference. “ I just had to do something.”
Do something he did.
Whalon united with the Sacramento Raiders, the team he was facing in the playoffs, and together the two worked to set up donation drops at several locations around the city. The community response has been amazing, and with Whalon driving the effort, his activation was enough to get coverage from local news stations.
“I just love football and knew that there were kids in New Jersey who share that same passion but couldn’t play because of the hurricane,” he said
It doesn’t end in Northern California.
With Facebook serving as a central hub for AYF coaches to communicate, the word went out and soon enough more coaches, teams and like minded people were joining the cause.
Coach Kareem Aziz with the Liberty Lions in Maryland has been a significant force in helping get the word out. And what he has seen is much more than just support.
“The response from the AYF Family to help rebuild has been amazing and inspiring,” he said. “This is what it truly means to be a part of something special."
From the Inland Empire Ducks of the Pacific Coast Conference to Wappinger Falls, Maryland and Harlem, NY, the show of love for hard hit communities is a true testament of the human spirit. Donations from American Youth Football headquarters and conferences continue to be collected, and with each donation received, it not only strengthens the hopes of people in need, it strengthens the bond of the AYF family.