Wizards Care sends storm relief supplies to New Jersey Shore
Submitted by The Edge Sports Center
On Sunday November 18th a van loaded with over twenty five cases of spring water and over two dozen boxes of everything from baby wipes to dog food, work boots to first aid kits, and over one thousand dollars in cash donations left the Edge Sports Center in Bedford MA for a 600 mile round trip journey to Brick, NJ, as part of the East Coast Wizards / Wizards Care program. The donations, collected by the East Coast Wizards youth sports athletes, were in response to the devastation to the New Jersey shore by super storm Sandy weeks earlier.
The East Coast Wizards, a youth sports program consisting of over 40 youth teams in hockey, lacrosse and field hockey, collected the donations at the Edge Sports Center over the two weeks prior. The players then separated, inventoried, boxed, labeled and loaded the cargo into the van for the long drive to NJ.
Two Wizard fathers and Bedford residents, Brian Bartkus and Brian DeVellis, left Bedford at 6:00am and arrived in NJ just before 11:00am, eventually met by very appreciative workers who worked to unload the cargo at a local FEMA station.
Bartkus recalls, “The most surreal thing for me was to see the boxes being brought in the back door of the FEMA station into the arms of the people who really need them, and then going right out the front door”.
Devellis’ cousin Debbie, who works at the Seaside Park police department, took the two on a tour of the closed off area of Seaside Park and past the now closed St. Catherine of Siena Church – the beneficiary of much of the Wizard donations. “It was an unbelievable experience seeing first hand all the positive things that a bunch of kids from Bedford can do for complete strangers they will likely never meet some three hundred miles away” DeVellis said.
“Wizards Care” is a pending non-profit entity established by the Edge Sport Center /East Coast Wizards program out of Bedford, MA to introduce their student athletes to more thanjust youth sports. To date, the Wizards have worked with such entities as the Bedford Food Pantry, Toys for Tots programs, The Neely House, as well as with numerous European youth hockey programs with equipment donations. The East Coast Wizards maintain over 35 youth hockey teams, a select field hockey program, and have recently launched a select lacrosse program – all run from their new and expanded Edge Sports Center facility housing two ice surfaces and two outdoor synthetic turf fields, with one to be enclosed for winter use.