PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Homewood Bulldawgs are back.
After a canceled season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and $10,000 worth of equipment was stolen from their storage container, the Bulldawgs hit the field on Wednesday.READ MORE: Pa. AG Agents Arrest 1 Man During Drug Trafficking Bust In McKeesport
People in and around the community donated double the amount the team needed to replace its gear
“It’s just a blessing man. I’m happy to see that happen, I’m grateful. … In this community, outside of the community, when it comes to the kids, everyone is all in,” Mubarik Ismaeli, president of Homewood Community Sports and Homewood Football. He’s also the football coach for the 9- and 10-year-old level.
About three weeks ago, Ismaeli informed the community about the stolen equipment and donations quickly rolled in. They received around $20,000.
“We are going to be able to get football and cheerleaders all new uniforms and equipment,” said Ismaeli.
Homewood football has been around for six decades. It’s part of Homewood Community Sports, which is a non-profit organization. Kids ages 5 to 14 can play for Homewood football. Dozens of kids were all smiles at practice on Wednesday as they were getting fitted for new helmets.READ MORE: Tired-Tired Or Sleepy-Tired? How To Combat Sleepiness And Fatigue During The Day
“We get to play football with equipment,” said 12-year-old Benjamin Dickerson.
“It means a lot because I missed playing it and I like playing it,” said 13-year-old Jaylen Stanford.
Coaches volunteer their time every year. They’re teaching the kids discipline and keeping them busy during the summer.
Nothing is going to stop the Bulldawgs. They’re just warming up and welcoming more players. Their first game is on July 31.
“This is the mecca of the community for the youth and for everyone out in these communities to band together. This tragedy, we are going to make it into a positive thing, we are just appreciative of everybody’s graciousness,” Ismaeli said.
Coach Ismaeli touched on the recent uptick in violence in different neighborhoods, including Homewood. Ismaeli said his organization, Community Empowerment Association, and other youth sports organizations are coming together to create a concrete plan to provide a safety net of activities and help resolve conflicts.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Severe Weather, Including Hail And Strong Winds Possible
Anyone interested in playing this season, click here.