HARLEYSVILLE, Pa. (CBS) – Everyone knows that baseball is the national pastime here in the U.S.  A group based in Harleysville, though, does its best to spread the this American game around the globe.

Its called Pitch In For Baseball, and David Rhode is its executive director: “We are the central organization for the collection and redistribution of new and gently used baseball equipment to kids and communities in need.  Both here in the United States and around the world.”

You can hear Matt Leon’s interview with David Rhode in this CBS Philly ‘Specials Place’ podcast…

The organization has been around for years and Rhode says while they send donated equipment literally everywhere, they also are very active close to home, “Here in the city of Philadelphia we work with a number of public high schools, given the funding cuts within the city, a lot of baseball programs don’t have the resources that they need. So, we will be working with an individual coach and an individual team in some of those circumstances. It might be one set of catcher’s gear, it might be just a few bats a team needs.”

In many cases the equipment provided by Pitch In For Baseball helps fill gaps left open by funding shortcomings, like in Philadelphia. Other times, the equipment goes overseas to introduce the game to an area or culture unfamiliar with it. But the organization has also stepped in to help in areas devastated by disaster, doing their part to restore a bit of normalcy to children affected by events like hurricanes, floods or tornadoes.

“In the case of Joplin (Missouri), we were contacted by Dan Smith, a former Major League Baseball player who lives about twenty miles from Joplin, Missouri. And Dan got a hold of our name through the MLB Players Association and then we very quickly got ourselves in touch with the folks at South of Joplin Little League, identified exactly what they needed to get the kids back on the field and, within about three or four days, were able to put together a huge shipment — roughly three pallets of equipment — that went out there to get those kids what they needed.”

Rhode says they are also expecting to send a significant shipment of equipment to Japan in November or December to help organizations in areas devastated there by the tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster.

For more information or to learn how you can help with a donation, check out the website www.pitchinforbaseball.org.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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