DES MOINES, Iowa — Saturday, Friends of Des Moines Parks is starting the Every Child Gets A Ball Program which aims to provide sports equipment to children in need. Friends of Des Moines Parks has partnered with Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Pro Iowa Soccer, Kick it Forward, and The Iowa Menace to provide 340 soccer balls at no cost to kids.

“When this opportunity came to us from the Des Moines Parks and Rec team it was a no-brainer we thought this is definitely something we want to be involved in and help get launched,” Sarah Lohmeier, the Executive Director of Friends of Des Moines Parks, said.

Every Child Gets A Ball stems from the Youth Scholarship Program between Des Moines Public Schools and Des Moines Parks and Recreation. The program allows any child who qualifies for free or reduced lunch to sign up for a parks and rec athletic program for only $5. Every Child Gets A Ball gives those kids the option to receive free balls as well.

Friends of Des Moines Parks plans to also offer free balls for other sports including Volleyball, Little League, and Flag Football. They hope that if the program is successful they can provide more support next year.

“We definitely hope to make this a sustaining program,” Lohmeier said. “We’re just seeing these programs grow by leaps and bounds and I think a lot has to do with offering these opportunities at a scholarship rate. The numbers are just growing and we hope we can put out 650 balls next year.”