ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. -- The uniforms for the Elmwood Park Football Bombers are older than the players wearing them.
Some of the cheerleaders have mismatched tops or skirts.
"The sob story is, we need money and we need uniforms. Our uniforms are 14 years old," said Steve Zaccone, who is starting his sixth year as the football league's president.
The organization serves Elmwood Park football players and cheerleaders in kindergarten through eighth grade and is part of the Meadowlands Football League .
As a new way to raise the needed $20,000, parent volunteer Jay Lopez launched a GoFundMe page hoping to get the attention of alumni or other football fans in town.
"I’m the first guy to ever attempt this. I got some heat for it but parents are behind it and are glad I'm tackling the uniform issue head-on," said Lopez. His son and daughter are in the league.
"We want to get the word out to Elmwood Park and hope people will support us. We’re representing our town when we travel to other towns," Lopez said.
If the GoFundMe is a success, the program will have enough money to leave a balance for the following year.
"People don’t realize how much goes into running a league," Zaccone said.
There are about 110 players and 120 cheerleaders. The league is headed by 30 coaches and 30 trustees.
Of the $175 registration fee, $150 goes to cover each player's expenses. The rest is for equipment reconditioning and insurance.
"All equipment has to be sent out every year to be re-conditioned at certain licensed and certified locations. Everything is cleaned and re-painted and certified for safety. Helmets have a 10-year life span but must be thrown out at the end of the 9th year," Zaccone said.
Both men hope Bomber alumni will donate to the league and Zaccone envisions a Hall of Fame for those who played through the years.
"It's something I'm just throwing out there. It'd be another way for alumni to get involved and help," he said.
Donations are tax deductible.
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The Elmwood Park Bombers Football and Cheerleading program, founded in 1959 (as the East Paterson Football Bombers), is the longest and most establish 501(C)3 not-for- profit youth sports organization.
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