ARL And Police Team Up For Boot Drive
The Auckland Rugby League and Tamaki Makaurau Police have come together for an initiative which will see over 100 pairs of football boots made available to those in need this season.
Over the past month the boots, many of them barely worn, have been donated by Police staff throughout the region as well as members of the public, as part of the Auckland Police Boot Bin project.
The boots have been cleaned and made over with new laces and will be available for collection at the ARL-hosted Kiwi Tag National Club Challenge, which will see 19 rugby league clubs take the field at Cornwall Park this Saturday, February 15.
Auckland Rugby League CEO Greg Whaiapu praised the initiative.
"This is a wonderful gesture from Tamaki Makaurau Police and it's something we are really pleased to be part of," Whaiapu said.
"We know access to boots can be a barrier to playing the game for some families, and this will make a real difference ahead of the 2020 season kicking off.
"Special thanks must go to acting inspector Mark Clayton for his efforts to organise this boot donation drive."
Police will be present on the day to help distribute the boots, with the collection point located next to tournament HQ at Cornwall Park.
Acting Inspector Clayton, youth and communities manager for Auckland Central, came up with the idea and said it's an opportunity to give back to the community.
"It gives kids the opportunity to play the game they love without any financial burden on their families," he said.
"We as Police are here to help our community, not just because it's our job to do so but because we care. It’s great that the ARL have also gotten onboard and we really appreciate them allowing to use the tournament to help with this initiative."
Acting inspector Clayton says he hopes even more people will get on board with the initiative and more boots can be donated in the future.
"So please get in the wardrobe or garage and find those boots," he said.
The boot drive follows a similar initiative driven by Clayton at the Te Atatu Roosters club, which has seen around 40 pairs of boots donated since December last year.
People in Auckland interested in donating boots can do so by bringing them to their nearest Police station.