Sports equipment collected for Nicaraguan children

Jay Dickey plans another trip in May

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— When 47-year-old Jay Dickey, surfer and ex-hippie, went down to Nicaragua last year, he and a friend decided to take some baseballs and gloves for local kids.

Little did he know the impact his gifts would make.

"The kids just went nuts," Dickey said. "They all started throwing balls at me."

Dickey was in southern Nicaragua to surf at a place called San Juan del Sur when he dropped off the balls and mitts at a school south of the town.

"The teacher told us this is the poorest school in the country and no one has ever done anything like this before."

Dickey said by the time they finished surfing and got back to the hotel, the children had already sent a thank you note.

"The kids were great. We felt bad because we didn't have something for all of them," Dickey said.

That's why Dickey put out a recent ad in the Today asking people to donate soccer balls, baseballs and mitts for his next trip to Nicaragua in May.

"Baseball is the number one sport and they like soccer too," Dickey said.

So far, he's had little response, but hopes people will pull through.

"Old stuff, new stuff, anything like that," Dickey said. "They'll want anything."

Because extra bags cost $100 to load on the plane, Dickey is hoping to have enough donations so that Federal Express will fly the sporting goods to Nicaragua for free.

Jay Dickey can be reached at 736-0490.

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