An Ontario youth football program geared toward at-risk youth tragically had nearly all of its equipment stolen only to have the forthcoming season saved by timely and gracious fundraising from a variety of contributors with no direct connection to the program.
As reported by the Ottawa Sun, the North Gloucester Giants had their field house broken into in early June, and the results were catastrophic. The field house was torn apart, trash strewn across the facility and showers turned on and left running to create an indoor flood.
The vandals responsible also stole dozens of new helmets, pads and even basic gear including balls and cones, eventually racking up to a total of $17,000 worth of equipment lost and gone forever.
With less than two months remaining before the 2017 season kicked off, the Giants faced the real threat of a complete program shut down, but then decided to actively fight back. Despite seeming long odds, the organization raised the $17,000 needed via a Go Fund Me drive (more than $3,000), small chunks from individual donors, pass the boot/hat drives from as far afield as Florida and, eventually, a massive charitable donation from Mattamy Homes, a Canadian and American home construction and subdivision company which has a significant presence in the Ottawa area.
“Amazing,” Geoff Woodhouse, a former Mattamy player turned head of the organization, told the Sun. “(Mattamy) offered everything and asked for nothing.
“I thought that we’d end up folding. I really did. I thought the season would be lost.”
Instead, the incident has served as a powerful reminder of the power of faith and belief in a cause, in this case the drive to help children in communities that need it have access to the same competitive football opportunities as anyone else.