Cleats for Conway benefits community

Hundreds of pairs of cleats, jerseys, t-shirts, shorts and socks were donated for the inaugural Cleats for Conway fundraiser. Hendrix senior midfielder Cole Bolen spearheaded the two-day charity event which accepted new or gently used items in a seven-hour span last Saturday and Sunday outside the Wellness and Athletics Center to benefit the local community.

The inspiration for Bolen’s initiative, which started almost a year ago at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, was two-fold.

“The first [reason] came from how frustratingly useless we all felt sitting at home for months and the need to do something to at least feel like I was helping,” Bolen said. “The second was understanding the universal financial impact of the pandemic – no one was left unaffected. With both of those came the central goal and mission statement of the project: no child should have to give up the sport that they love because they simply lack the gear. I have been lucky enough to benefit from and enjoy a lengthy soccer career, and I only hope that with this event, we can pass some of that joy along.”

Bolen noted the work of Warriors women’s soccer junior defender Julia Dick, who was extremely helpful throughout the process gathering gear.

People were able to give or take for free items that had been donated. The unclaimed donations at the end of the event were donated to the Arkansas Soccer Association and Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County.