July 11, 2012 North Myrtle Beach, SC – One hundred United States Basketball Association (USBA) teams brought 200 pairs of ‘gently used’ shoes to donate to the community. The donations, managed locally by the North Strand Helping Hand (NSHH), were available to those that needed shoes at ten o’clock this morning at the North Myrtle Beach High School.
Gently used shoesJohn Whitley, USBA Operations Director, and Margaret Owens, NSHH Director, were on hand to coordinate the donations. Owns said that NSHH had passed out fliers at Atlantic Beach and had notified clients at their center of the donation and expected many to be given away today. Those that were not given away would be available at NSHH for the start of the school season when many families come in to obtain clothes for their children.
Margaret Owens, NSHH & John Whitley, USBA
Whitley pointed out that this was the first time ever for this program. While 100 were brought in with the grades 8 – 12 teams, he expected double that number from the younger crowd. Those shoes will be available for pickup on Wednesday of next week, 10 am at the North Myrtle Beach High School.
USBA has been coming to North Myrtle Beach for about six years. It has grown from about 100 teams to over three hundred teams from across the country. The representation this year is from across the country was impressive. Whitley listed teams from Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and all up and down the eastern seaboard. About 1500 young people are involved in this week’s program; in addition the teams bring in families, couches and teachers, presenting quite a boost to the economy.
Whitley said, “We are now up to 350 teams and expect even more next year. We put on a quality event and word of mouth from couches and parents are driving our growth. They come here, have a great time, leave and tell their friends and bring someone back. We were attracted to North Myrtle Beach because there is so much to do here in the down time, from the beach to fine restaurants to great entertainment.”
The event has grown beyond the capacity of just a few gyms. Whitley said, “The USBA uses facilities at the North Myrtle Beach High School, Middle School, the Christian School, First Baptist Church, J. Bryan Floyd Recreation Center, and North Strand Recreation Center on Hwy 57. We have outgrown the North Strand area and use facilities in Socastee and Conway.”
In a previous interview, Marc Jordon, President and CEO of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber, said that s study estimated that the tournament will generate a $13.5 million economic benefit to North Myrtle Beach.