C4K empowers kids to live healthier lifestyles and learn life lessons through sports by providing sports shoes and safe equipment to kids in need. It is a unique, one-of-a-kind mission in our community. By getting more kids involved in sports, C4K changes lives and gives underserved kids hope and self-confidence. The organizational mission also promotes kids helping kids by encouraging giving back to their community and starting them down a path of philanthropy beyond mere volunteering.
C4K started in 2011 from a pile of basketball shoes, soccer cleats and football gear in the corner of an Oklahoma City garage. The McDaniel family saw what their children had outgrown and realized that the shoes that no longer fit Cole, Josh or Meghan could benefit someone else. Thus, C4K was born.
Since its founding 2011, C4K has experienced exponential growth in the amount of equipment distributed: 129% in 2013, 45% in 2014 and 85% in 2015. C4K has distributed over 60,000 items total to athletes in need and helps approximately 7,500 kids per year. They currently partner with 32 youth organizations and 37 school districts. The organization recently expanded to Cincinnati, where an Ohio Cleats for Kids chapter began in early 2017.
Sports provide kids a unique way to strengthen their bodies, minds and characters. In fact, sports may be just the thing that helps change a child’s life by improving their health or giving them a much-needed place to belong. In Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) almost 3/4 of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. In households where putting food on the table is difficult, purchasing gear to play sports safely can be out of the question. These kids are the largest group of C4K recipients and may never get to play sports without C4K’s help.
According to U.S. Census data and the Ohio Development Agency’s Ohio Poverty Report in 2015, 30.9% of Cincinnatians live in poverty. Nationally, Cincinnati is among the top 15 poorest cities in the country with a population of 250,000 or more compared to a national poverty rate of 15.9% (and Ohio-wide) of less than 15%. This means that approximately one in three Cincinnatians fall below the poverty line, and our city’s poverty rate is almost twice the national average.
C4K is able to provide this equipment free of charge through community drives and drop-off donation centers where we gather new and used equipment from across the community. Once the gear is collected, hundreds of volunteers then help us sort and clean each piece of equipment so young athletes and coaches can come and “shop” at the C4K store free of charge.
Meet the C4K Team
Bari Sandler Lansberg
Ohio Executive Director
Maria Nichting McCracken
Community Relations Director
C4K’s Teen Board brings together high school leaders from across Ohio under our banner of “kids helping kids.” The Board meets several times throughout the year and is in charge of holding collection drives, the planning of the Summer Kickoff and more!