Rival team donates equipment to Middletown Middies after $40,000 theft

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- The Lakota Tomahawks and Middletown Middies are usually on different sides of a football field when they meet, but this week was different. 

After they learned the more than $40,000 had been stolen from the Middletown Youth Football and Cheer League, the Tomahawks coaching staff decided they wanted to help their rivals stay in the game with a donation of shoulder pads.

They aren't the only ones who have stepped up to help. Cleats for Kids, a local nonprofit that helps under-served children's teams get their hands on shoes and other essential athletic equpiment, made a donation of their own to help Middletown recover from the theft.

"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," parent Tara Ramsey said at the time of the theft. 

According to her, many of the children who participate are considered "at-risk," meaning their families can't afford to pay for the equipment needed to participate without help.

The league's 170 kids, ranging in age from kindergarten to sixth grade, have sold dinners, held car washes and raised money through other means for months, but they still need help to afford a full retinue of supplies, including helmets, to play this fall.

Anyone interested in donating money or equipment to the teams can learn how to do so online through Cleats for Kids.

In the meantime, former league treasurer Danielle Lucas stands charged with two counts of grand theft in connection to the $40,000 disappearing act.

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