PIQUA — A group of Piqua’s young athletes have stepped up to the plate to help several local non-profits.
Members of the Piqua Braves, with members from 7 to 12 years old, recently began volunteering as part of a Community Give Back program, according to the organization’s president Brian Edwards. The Piqua Braves currently has six teams and boasts 68 players, up from its inaugural year in 2017.
“We developed our Community Give Back initiative because we have said from the beginning that we want to be intentional with living into our mission,” Edwards said. “Part of our mission is to create young leaders in our community going beyond baseball. Our board members came up with the idea and with the help of some parents, we were able to connect with three organizations.”
The Piqua Braves currently are working with the Piqua Munch Bunch Back Pack Program, God’s Grocery of Lockington United Methodist Church and Koester Pavilion. Edwards said the group just teamed up with Piqua Munch Bunch Back Pack program on Tuesday, Jan. 30 to help them pack bags of groceries that are delivered to kids in the Piqua City School District to ensure they have meals when they are not at school.
“The Piqua Munch Bunch is an amazing organization and we are grateful that they gave us the opportunity to support their cause,” Edwards said. “The experience was bittersweet, because on one hand it is sad when you realize there are children in our community that go hungry, but knowing there is an organization like the Piqua Munch Bunch provides hope for those in need.”
Kathy Bramlett, coordinator of the Piqua Munch Bunch, said the Braves hit a home run in several ways. She said prior to volunteering, the group had a food drive where many food items were donated to the program. In turn, the kids got to see the food donations getting put to use, she said.
During their first packing event, Bramlett said the kids really got into the process.
“They were wonderful. The kids jumped in wherever we asked them to … they were so fast. We usually pack until 7:30, we were done with everything at like 7:10, put away and everything.
“I kept calling them the small little army,” said Bramlett, who said several parents have made contact since, wanting to help outside the Piqua Braves. “They are such good-behaved kids and so helpful. It’s just wonderful to see these kids want to do more than play baseball … and help their community.”
Edwards said by doing community service, the board hopes the boys come to understand that they can make a difference in their community by volunteering their time and energy for those who need support.
“We also hope that they gain a sense of appreciation for what they have, and that a sense of entitlement is replaced by a sense of giving,” he said.
Edwards said hearing some of the children talk about the volunteerism opportunities is even more confirmation that the boys understand what the board is aiming for and and that they want to make a difference.
Joshua Heath, an 11u player, said, “It feels good to give back to the community because last year, people in the community were helpful to us in getting the Piqua Braves teams started.”
Brennan Bauman from the 12u Red Team agrees.
“I felt happy for helping some kids get things they might not have,” Bauman said. “It made me feel good.”
Edwards said community members can support the boys by attending their games and cheering for the youth. He said they play homes games at Edison State Community College, 11u and both 12u teams, and Upper Mote Park, which includes 8u, 9u, and 10u teams. Their season begins April 7-8, and lasts through the beginning of July.
“We are very appreciative of the support the community has provided for our boys. We could not be where we are today without their support,” Edwards said.
For more information on the Piqua Munch Bunch Back Pack Program, visit the program’s Facebook page.
For more on the Piqua Braves, visit www.piquabravesbaseball.org.
Reach Melody Vallieu at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 552-2131