CHARLOTTE, NC - The 'U Deserve A Chance Foundation' is a local non-profit dedicated to providing financial support to help more kids afford to play baseball. Saturday, the foundation hosted the first 'Home Plate Gala,' a black-tie affair at BB&T Ballpark.
The concept for this event came up about ten months ago for Jeff Schaefer, founder of the foundation. He said it's a nice change of pace for people used to a baseball enviornment.
"People are constantly in t-shirts and shorts; eight o'clock in the morning with a cup of coffee," Schaefer said. "I thought it would be a nice idea to bring the adults together, and see if we could really jump-start the foundation."
The idea worked. The event sold out two weeks in advance, and a silent auction brought more money in.
"It really showed me that there's people behind what we're trying to do, and people here that want to help, and people that want to be involved," Schaefer said.
The evening also gave the foundation an opportunity to recognize Tom Walter, the head coach of Wake Forest Baseball. Walter was recognized for his decision to donate a kidney to one of his recruits who desperately needed one.
"I think it's a decision that anybody would make for their son," Walter said. "When you're a college baseball coach, you got thirty-five sons every year and when one of your sons is fighting for his life, you're going to do whatever you can to get him healthy."
"Here's a man that went ahead and donated a part of him," Schaefer said. "A physical part of him, so somebody could go ahead and compete and play this game and have quality of life."
On Saturday, Walter said he was just happy to help out Schaefer and get more kids playing baseball.