It’s the last day of my 12 Days of Charitable Giving for 2020. Readers have suggested deserving charities over the past few weeks, and I’ll be posting the results here. Today’s charity is Halftime Gear.

Okay, confession time and full disclosure: for years, all of the charities on the 12 Days lists have been nominated by readers. Except for this one. This was nominated by me.

Let me explain.

If you follow me on social media, you know that I have kids and those kids play sports. Some of those kids play two different sports. All of those sports cost money.

And I’m going to be honest: I didn’t realize how much money kids’ sports cost until my own kids started playing. It is worlds of difference from when I used to play rec soccer as a little girl at Monk’s Corner in rural North Carolina.

Soccer player

Today’s sports are hardcore, with tryouts – for travel and school – and tournaments. There are fees – and sometimes pricey equipment.

Both of my girls play hockey – both field hockey and ice hockey. My middle child is a goalkeeper (“Though she be but little, she is fierce”) in both sports. When we started her out as a youth goalkeeper, I was shocked at the cost of the pads, helmets, chest protectors, and other protective gear. And then she grew. When I went to replace the gear, I couldn’t bear the thought of just tossing out the old gear. So I made a phone call to find out whether anyone might be interested in the old gear: the answer was a resounding yes.

field hockey player

My girls considered that they might have other gear of use for families who couldn’t afford new. They had sticks that were now too short and skates that were too small. And my son – who plays soccer – seemed to need to replace his cleats every few months. What if, the girls thought, they collected their own gear AND gear from other families? They could clean it up and find new homes for it.

And with that, Halftime Gear “Because the game is not over yet!” was born.

The charity started in 2019. Since then, the girls have collected boxes and boxes of gear. They have spent hours collecting it, sorting it, cleaning it up and diligently hunting down organizations in need. Sometimes, as last year, they box it up and drive it to the new location (we drove out to Lancaster, PA, to donate to a soccer camp that works with refugees) and other times, they box it for shipping (as they have done during the pandemic). In December alone, they sent four boxes of large boxes of gear to organizations working with underserved youth playing baseball and soccer.

I’ve been struck by their hard work and while I did the company stuff (including applying for tax-exempt status), they have always been the muscles and voice of the organization.

So how can you help? You can make a cash donation by clicking over to the website.

You can also mail a check to:

Half Time Gear, Inc

c/o 20 South Valley Road #100A

Paoli, PA 19301

For federal income tax purposes, if you plan to claim a deduction for a cash contribution, you’ll want to keep a record of the donation. Ideally, the organization will provide a written record with the name of the charity, date, and amount of the contribution.

And this year, don’t forget that taxpayers who make cash donations of up to $300 before December 31, 2020, are now eligible for a charitable deduction when they file in 2021 – even if they don’t itemize. As part of the CARES Act, the special $300 deduction is available to taxpayers who choose to take the standard deduction rather than itemizing their deductions.

You can also donate gently used gear. To donate gear, contact the girls directly – or if you live in southeastern Pennsylvania, you can look out for collection boxes. Remember that you can deduct the cost of your gear: the amount of your charitable contribution is generally the fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution.

Do your homework. As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ new Tax Exempt Organization Search (formerly Select Check) reveals that Halftime Gear is on the list.

To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, follow them on Twitter or Instagram, and like their Facebook page.

Remember: Readers nominate their favorite charities to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving, and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the organizations. So be generous but be smart: Do your homework.

For more on making charitable donations, click here.

For other charities in the series, see:

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.

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