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Have you ever seen the look on a kid’s face when they open their first pack of cards? It is just awesome to see their reaction and excitement around which players they get from a pack. Unfortunately not every kid has the ability to open a pack of cards and there are some who could really use the joy that a pack of cards can provide.
Recently we became aware of a young man who was working through one of our Certified Diamond Dealers (Bleachers Sports Cards in Winnetka, Illinois) to encourage patrons to donate cards so he could in turn give them to kids in Children’s hospitals in the area. As we spent time learning more and more about what he was doing, we were blown away by his passion and realized we wanted to be a part of the program. Upper Deck will be donating several thousands of collegiate trading cards to the charity hoping that kids are inspired by these college stars. We are hoping to see our fans get involved with this very worthwhile program and we encourage everyone to donate at least some of their “Cards to Kids!”
“My name is John Makowiec and I am a sophomore at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. This year I started the non-profit charity called ‘Cards to Kids.’ We are collecting new and used sports cards from collectors, packing them up and proving them to kids at Children’s Memorial Hospital, the Inner City Youth Baseball League and the Boys and Girls Clubs in Illinois. In order to collect cards, we have set up a collection box at Bleacher’s Sports in Winnetka, Illinois. To date we have collected more than 200,000 cards!
“I started ‘Cards to Kids’ because I was in a service group at my school that was rewarding, but I wanted to do something different where I could draw upon my personal passion. Since collecting sports cards is one of my favorite things to do and I know how much other kids enjoy the hobby, I realized it would be really awesome to get cards into the hands of kids who couldn’t normally afford them or who could really use them as a distraction. And with that, ‘Cards to Kids” was born.
“While we have been really happy with the support we have received thus far, I’m on a mission to grow this program and continue to raise awareness for what we are doing. Recently we held a donation drive at Wrigley Field before a Chicago Cubs game. We worked with Cubs Care (the charitable branch of the Chicago Cubs MLB Club) and discussed some ideas with them. We ultimately decided to have the donation drive in conjunction with the Major League Baseball equipment drive.
“In the days leading up to the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, we spread the news of the drive through emails and flyers. We also reached out to a variety of news outlets in Chicago and NBC and WGN picked up on our story. It was a real thrill to be interviewed on the NBC nightly news. For WGN, I was interviewed for a live segment on their nightly sports radio show. In addition to this, the day before the game, a press release was sent out about the card drive and the equipment drive by MLB.
“The day of the event, we set up a table outside of the gates of Wrigley. We had signs and t-shirts to promote the giveaway and we had an acrylic box that we used to hold the cards that were donated. In addition to this we passed out hundreds of flyers with more information on the program. It was an awesome day with my whole family and two of my friends from school helping to create awareness for the program.
“When it was all said and done, we collected close to 10,000 sports cards and more importantly spread the word which will lead to more donations. People really seem to love the concept of this program and it is really rewarding to hear all the positive feedback from those who are donating their cards to kids. As a result of this event, we have not only received thousands of cards from as far away as Massachusetts, but we have spread the word out. Now more Chicago hobby shops are looking to set up collection boxes at their stores. Moreover, the Cleveland Cavaliers have also expressed interest in having a card drive at their stadium after seeing the success of this one. Now we just need the NBA lockout to be resolved…
“So help me spread the word about the program and pass this story along. And while you’re at it, go through the attic or garage this weekend and package up those old shoeboxes of trading cards. We will repackage them and get them to some kids who will really appreciate them. Here’s the address to send them to:
Cards to Kids
141 West Jackson Street #500
Chicago, IL 60604
“If you are in the Chicago area and have some free time, reach out to us as we could definitely use some help in sorting and packaging up these cards. And if you’re one of Upper Deck’s Certified Diamond Dealers, contact us if you’d like to get a donation box set up in your store by calling Debbie at (312)362-2452. Help us share the hobby and fun of collecting with deserving kids by donating today! For more information, visit www.cardstokids.org.”