Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Danielle Lucas has been charged with one count of theft. This story has been updated.
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Some of the Middies on the youth football team could be benched before the season starts unless the community steps up.
The Middletown Youth Football and Cheer League said it's now missing more than $40,000, and court records show the team's former treasurer Danielle Lucas has been charged with two counts of grand theft.
Tara Ramsey volunteers with the league and has a son who plays. She said the league's 170 kids from kindergarten through sixth grade have sold dinners, held car washes and raised money through other means for months.
"We were trying to build something and it's kind of hard when you don't have money, but then when money is taken away, it kind of hurts you even more," Ramsey said. "Right now, we don't know how we're going to get our football helmets and shoulder pads."
Ramsey said she hopes the community will step up to help recoup some of the lost funds. She said the league sponsors at-risk children whose parents can't afford the hundreds of dollars to participate. She also noted how the kids learn quite a bit through the program.
"It allows them to think outside of football. We also do that through our reading program. You know football is important, but what are you doing schoolwise to mend those two together?" Ramsey said.
Check out the league's Facebook page here for more info and to contact them to help.