RANDOLPH, NJ -- Ten years ago, the idea of a charity to help local families in need was proposed to the Board of Directors for the Morris County Youth Football League (MCYFL) by Randolph Bulldogs coach Jerry Davis. Out of that idea, MCYFL Charities was born, and by the end of that 2009 season, three families in total received funds that the leagues member teams helped raise that first year.
To date, as they hit their 10-year anniversary, the Charity has helped 38 families in total and distributed more than $160,000.
“I hope that the charity has made impressions on the players and cheerleaders over the years,” said Davis, league secretary and one of the original founders of the charity. “We have had players do their own fundraiser and donate money, and had players come up with different ideas - like signing a football or a Jersey and presenting it to the player who was fighting an illness. I just hope that the simple slogan 'People Helping People' gets across to all the kids in our program.”
While some recipients have encountered hardships such as a house fire, most of the others were helped due to a sudden illness in the family. Many have been the young players themselves, battling pediatric cancer or other life threatening illnesses. A league referee who fell unexpectedly ill was even a recipient one year.
“My program, Twin Boro has had 3 players who received help from MCYFL Charities in the past 10 years, and all the boys are doing well,” said Vincent LaSorsa. “The greatest example of how the charity has impacted our players is this: Last season my 6th and 4th grade teams asked to forego receiving an end of the year award. Instead, they wanted the money we as a program would have spent, to go to a cancer charity.”
It is that message of “it is better to give than it is to receive” that the charity hopes to emphasize to the kids and parents alike.
“Many young girls and boys will never be fighting for their life at a young age or even know anyone who is, so ‘life threatening’ is a concept they don’t understand,” said league President Chuck Harvey. “Any time our young athletes participate in honoring an individual it gives them a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Jerry (Davis) is always reinforcing the message to all the league reps to work with their young athletes to stress the importance of giving.”
Longtime Randolph coach Dan Limone was also part of the original group who gave the charity life.
“It was nice to be a part of helping start the charity,” said Limone. “Jerry Davis worked very hard to start this. It’s so nice to see the towns come together to help these children, we are truly blessed to have this in Morris county.”
Every one of the recipients has been from a town with a team in the league, while many have been either players, coaches, or their families.
At the league’s year-end banquet, some past recipients got up and spoke about the positive impact the charity had on their family. A few coaches also delivered great news with positive updates on their past player recipients who were thriving, some who are currently away in college.
“Winning a championship trophy is nice, and congratulations are certainly in order to those who do,” said Davis. “But the bigger and more important victory for all the adults in this program, is teaching life lessons to these boys and girls. Seeing them not only embrace the charity but learning empathy and how to care for others in need, is the biggest win of all.”
In addition to all the hard work put in by players and parent volunteers who raise funds during games, MCYFL Charities has also been the beneficiary of generous support from corporate sponsors such as Ridell, Jersey's Mikes, Dicks Sporting Goods, Modells, Rutgers football, and Stadium Systems.
MCYFL Charities accepts donations at most of their games, as well as throughout the year through the mail. Anyone who wants to help support the charity can donate here:
1250 Sussex TPK
PO Box 88
Mt. Freedom, NJ 07970