Since speaking with The Telegram earlier in February about wanting to bring baseball gloves to the children of the Dominican Republic, she says the response has been overwhelming.
“The support from Facebook friends is amazing,” she says.
Fowlow-King and her husband, Grant King, boarded a plane for the first time eight years ago when she won a trip to the Dominican Republic through First Choice Haircutters where she works. Since then the couple has become enamored with the locals there and their giving and gracious demenour. The couple now brings items such as clothes, toiletries and treats to the poverty-stricken people each time they go. They are so well known that the police know them by name. A local cab driver insists on taking them anywhere they want to go, and they keep in contact with some people down there even after they return home.
The couple is going back this April and want to bring down as many baseball gloves — new or used — as they possibly can to the children.
“You see people playing baseball and there’s other kids on the side who aren’t playing,” she says.
Baseball is huge down there, she adds, but many of the local children can’t afford gloves. Since she first spoke about trying to gather gloves for them in The Telegram, she has collected 29. Besides those, members of the Avalon East Slow Pitch Softball League have collected an additional 17. A couple from Illinois who are travel buddies of Bonnie and Grant have gotten involved, too.
“They’re really good people. The last time they went they couldn’t get over the stuff that we’d take and what we do when we go. They just really wanted to get right involved with it,” says Bonnie.
The other couple is collecting gloves as well, and are matching each glove collected with a ball. Carlson Wagonlit Travel is also having a fundraiser and will use the money to buy gloves, too, Bonnie says. The couple has an arrangement with Westjet that allows them to bring down extra luggage so they can get the charitable items to the people down south.
Major league player, Carlos Ernesto Martínez, who is from the Dominican, has his own foundation that gets sports equipment to underprivileged children in his homeland. On his official blog site, Martínez writes, “I was that kid with no glove and no spikes, but I had dreams of one day playing in the big leagues”.
The cab driver who takes Bonnie and Grant around to the various neighbourhoods they visit now sends them messages and says the children all ask when the couple will return. On one message he gives thanks to everyone who has helped on their project to get equipment for the Dominican children.
“He’s so sweet,” Bonnie says.
Along with the gloves, Bonnie is bringing T-shirts down for the kids. On the back of the shirts Ultragraphics has agreed to put “Dominican Delivery” — the headline from the original Telegram story.
Anybody who wishes to donate a baseball glove can drop it off at any First Choice Haircutters location.