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Every little bit helps… T.A. Dugger football receives $1,000 grant from Dick’s Sporting Goods

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
Following a year impacted heavily by the COVID pandemic, the T.A. Dugger Jr. High football team has been left scrambling to raise funds to provide the growing program with the needed uniforms and equipment as the team enters a new season.

Melissa Mathes, a TAD football booster as well as a parent of a player, like many others have been reaching out to secure support and one of those calls went to Dick’s Sporting Goods in Johnson City where Mathes’s sister works.

The call was too late to get donations as those had been given out but Mathes was given the information needed to apply for a grant that the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation allows stores all across the country to present especially to rural area teams.

“I submitted the necessary information for the grant and I was told within a few weeks we were approved for the $1,000 grant from Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Mathes said.

“Every store in the company has the opportunity to give out at least $1,000 in grants to their local community every year,” said Mark Clodfelter, Store Manager of Dick’s Sporting Goods in Johnson City. “For some of the larger markets, they will give larger grants than that.

“When you take 750 stores doing this at least at a minimum, and corporately they sponsor a lot of funding in more challenged areas larger than this.”

Clodfelter explained that the recipients of the grants can utilize the grant money in whatever manner they choose to benefit the program.

“It’s up to the teams to whatever the needs are. Whether it’s uniforms, whether its cleats, equipment – whatever they need the money for, it’s up to them.

“This is what it’s all about. I played youth sports and sports put my son through college so to help these guys out is fantastic. Dick’s is a huge proponent of youth sports and believes wholeheartedly in the importance of it and I am right there with it. The community does a great job of supporting us and we want to give back to the community.”

The grant was a boost in the arm to help the booster program get closer to its goal of where it needed to be.

“We appreciate Dick’s Sporting Goods giving this grant to our school,” Mathes added. “We are trying some different fundraisers this year that are different.

“With COVID from last year and still some restrictions this year, selling products and going door-to-door, we are not really sure how much of that we are going to be able to do, so we have started some text fundraisers where we are sending texts and asking for donations.

“We are just trying some things outside the box. The grant from Dick’s will help us provide some new jerseys for the kids that we might not have been able to do and to purchase some additional helmets that we needed for the kids this year as well.”