Above and Beyond: Teen starts sports equipment charity

Michelle Charlesworth highlights teen John Lombardi and his friends who have donated about 13,000 pieces of sports equipment from their community over the past 2 years. (WABC)
April 30, 2014 1:50:17 PM PDT
16-year-old John Lombardi started a sports equipment charity called "Let's Play it Forward" two years ago, when he was cleaning out a garage.

"I was going to throw out all this old sports equipment, same with my friends, so we started our own thing, all of us together," said Lombardi.

All of his friends also had expensive gear that was sitting unused ? so did others for miles around.

"Basically we don't need it, outgrew it, or don't play the sport anymore," added Lombardi.

Over the years, Lombardi and his friends have collected and donated around 13,000 pieces of equipment.

"We have an event every year at a pancake breakfast, and boy do we get a lot of donations," said Ryan Wilson.

"The barn was donated by Tom Kallish, owner of Tommie Copper in town," said Tucker Clair, "without him, I don't know what we would do."

The kids sort the equipment, and then dozens of charities come load it up and take it away. The Children's Home of Poughkeepsie houses 80 foster kids, and was loading up when Eyewitness News was there.

"What would they have if not for this? We rely on donations for extra activities and fun stuff like this," said Erin Cafarelli.

So who nominated these kids for Above and Beyond? Lombardi's aunt, Liz Colantonio.

"Hundreds of hours were spent doing this, weekends, after school, after homework, between studying and playing their own sports, says Colantonio.

If you would like to nominate someone who you think has gone Above and Beyond, CLICK HERE.