Several large black boxes have been set up in the children’s room of the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

With signs that say things like “hockey” and “baseball,” these boxes have been placed for a specific purpose – to help kids.

Through a program supported by the National Football League, the Minnesota Vikings and the 2018 Super Bowl planning committee, kids in need will be able to play sports of their choice, as other students collect new or gently used athletic equipment to be donated to schools and student athletes who may not have the funds to play.

The Redwood Valley Middle School student council, under the guidance of Jenn Otto, school social worker, have coordinated this collection, and during the next several days the students will be accepting those items.

According to Otto, the collection is taking place this week and will continue until Jan. 15. 

Anything from hockey sticks and cleats to baseball gloves and running shoes is being accepted.

“We are collecting everything that people want to donate,” said Otto.

While the project is being coordinated by the middle school, Otto said the equipment that is being collected is for students of all ages.

“If you have things at home that your kids have grown out of or are no longer using, we will accept them,” said Otto.

Olivia Stoterau said the project is part of the middle-school student council’s commitment to do a project with global impact as part of the We Day program.

“As part of We Day we need to do a big project for people in need,” said Stoterau.

Drew Lundeen added the project gives everyone the chance to help others. He said the project looked like one the students could take on, adding it not only provides students at the middle school a chance to help others, but in this case the whole community can get involved.

For Kody Robinson the project fits into the message of We Day, which was to show that even students their age can make a difference and help to create change on a larger scale.

In addition to collecting athletic equipment, the students are also accepting old cell phones from the public, which are going to be used in schools to enhance the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming. Those phones may be dropped off in the middle school office.

While the public is encouraged to drop off the athletic equipment at the community center, as it offers a bigger space, items may also be dropped off at the middle school office.

“Board games and books can also be donated,” said Otto.

When the collection ends, Jan. 15 the local students will load up the items that have been donated, and then they will take them to Edina where they will meet up with other schools who are participating in the Super Kids program. The equipment then will be sorted, and the students will have a chance to interact with members of the Minnesota Vikings football team.

Otto said the students will be involved with helping set up and do activities with the Minnesota Vikings from 9 a.m. until noon that day.

The students have been given the use of a trailer to haul the donated items to Edina, and it is their hope that the community will step up and help to fill it.

During the afternoon of Jan. 18 the schools and students in need will come in and have the opportunity to select from the donated items.

For more information, call the Redwood Area School District at (507) 644-3531 and ask to speak with Jenn Otto.