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Teen Collector Mitchell Kennedy Turns His Passion for Sports Cards into Charity

April 16, 2012

It started, simply enough, as a way for 15-year-old collector Mitchell Kennedy to streamline his sports card collection. In the four months since, Kennedy’s housecleaning efforts have blossomed into a full-blown feel-good story that has introduced the joys of sports card collecting to kids across North Carolina.

“I had some extra cards and told my mom to give them to someone she knew that did not have a lot,” Kennedy says. “She told me one day that the child that got them still had one of the cards by his bedside. So I thought that I could make this a big thing and give cards to a lot of kids.”

And with that, Kennedy’s Sports Cards for Kids charity began. Since November, the high school freshman has donated more than 12,000 cards to local Boys & Girls Clubs and children’s hospitals, no doubt developing countless new collectors and delivering untold bright spots into the lives of kids who need them.

Just days before Kennedy paid a visit to the kids at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., two weeks ago, he received confirmation from the North Carolina Secretary of State recognizing Sports Cards for Kids as an official 501 (c) (3) charity.

“I give cards to kids who can’t afford them or who are going through hard times, and I do it because it makes them very happy and excited,” Kennedy says.

Kennedy’s myriad inspirational efforts — including monthly visits to Boys & Girls Clubs and trips to Brenner Children’s Hospital and The Children’s Home of Winston-Salem — have attracted the attention of local media and local athletes.

Carolina Panthers such as Armanti Edwards and Thomas Keiser have signed autographed cards for Kennedy to use in his hand-collated goodwill gift bags that typically include 20 mostly basketball and football cards (five superstars, 14 new cards and one legend). On most trips, Kennedy will distribute 100 special packs.

For those counting at home, that’s at least 2,000 cards per month. At that rate, and with plans for expansion to additional children’s hospitals, Kennedy’s current supply of cards won’t last long. That’s where loyal Panini America collectors can pitch in with donations to Sports Cards for Kids.

Kennedy is always accepting card donations for the cause, preferably from 2005 or later as those names are most recognizable to the kids on the receiving end.

If you’re interested in donating to the Sports Cards for Kids cause, you can mail donations to:

Sports Cards for Kids
6255 Towncenter Drive #621
Clemmons, N.C. 27012

Good job, Mitchell. Keep up the good work and please keep us posted on your progress.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2012 12:23 pm

    Great job by this young man, when I moved out of my parent’s house in 2007 I donated approximately 28,000 cards to the local Boys & Girls club and they were astonished at the gesture. I gave them the info for my local card store and the owner there got them the necessary supplies to package them up for distribution to the kids. I didn’t have the same direct experience with the kids but I hope some of them had a similar experience shown here.

    Charity is important no matter what your economic status is, giving what you can is all that counts. Time, money or items can always find a place to do good for someone less fortunate than you. Thanks for bringing this to us Tracy!

    • April 16, 2012 12:39 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Tom. Kudos to Mitchell for going above and beyond in sharing the joys of our hobby to future collectors all over North Carolina.

  2. Matt Gilman permalink
    April 16, 2012 1:21 pm

    Thanks for the great read Tracy. I hold a yard sale a few times a year. I box up huuuuuuuge boxes of cards and sell them for a dollar a box. I put the money I make back into the hobby and do it all over again. I have sometimes just given them away to kids parents who tell the kids they can’t either afford it or just no. Not unless the parents truly mean no. I find it good for the hobby, and keeps the house clean. Glad there are also organizations like this, especially a young kid running them, helping out the community and those who need a cheer up.

  3. Scott's Collectibles, Kannapolis NC permalink
    April 16, 2012 1:38 pm

    Will be working up some boxes of cards for him, amazing that he is doing this! Can’t imagine the smiles on kids faces when they get the cards. For alot of kids in the hospital facing such a daunting task a little thing such as a stack of sports cards can make there day!

    • April 16, 2012 4:14 pm

      Awesome, Scott. Thanks so much. I’m sure he will be extremely thankful.

    • Mitchell Kennedy permalink
      April 16, 2012 6:31 pm

      Thanks so much! I know the cards will put a smile on the kids’ faces!

  4. t-mo permalink
    April 16, 2012 2:42 pm

    I just gave to this charity about a week ago at my local card shop. It’s great to know who started this charity.

    • Mitchell Kennedy permalink
      April 16, 2012 6:34 pm

      Thanks for your donations!

  5. April 16, 2012 3:10 pm

    This is awesome. Is there anyway we can contribute?

  6. April 16, 2012 3:11 pm

    Whoops – almost asked how we can get involved. Was so taken aback I didn’t read the last few lines. Making this a priority this weekend.

    Thanks, Tracy.

    • April 16, 2012 4:13 pm

      You are awesome. I know that Mitchell and lots of kids will be extremely grateful.

    • Mitchell Kennedy permalink
      April 16, 2012 6:32 pm

      Thanks so much! Your donations are much appreciated!

  7. John Kenney permalink
    April 16, 2012 3:43 pm

    I’d love one day to be able to shake this young mans hand and thank him for all he’s done 🙂
    I know he’s put many smiles on some needy kids faces and that folks is what collecting should be all about 🙂 Great story, great read, and hopefully you’ll be able to give him a hand Tracy with his quest 🙂

    • Mitchell Kennedy permalink
      April 16, 2012 6:33 pm

      Thanks, that means a lot!

      • April 17, 2012 4:38 pm

        Mitchell, have you reached out to Chris Justice @ the Hobby Box in NC? Tracy has a relationship with him, if you haven’t it might be a good idea to see what, if anything, he would be willing to do. Perhaps ask his customers who get their boxes broken on video on his chri6784 YouTube channel if they only want their hits and numbered cards shipped to reduce shipping cost to them and donate the base cards to you. Something along those lines. Good luck and great work!

      • Mitchell Kennedy permalink
        April 17, 2012 8:14 pm

        Thanks for the suggestion! I have sent him an email.

      • John Kenney permalink
        April 17, 2012 8:30 pm

        wish you had affiliates in Canada, we’d love to be able to help you out 🙂

      • Mitchell Kennedy permalink
        April 18, 2012 9:38 pm

        I have a lot of hockey card and not enough hockey fans. If you know of any organization I can send some cards to email me at

  8. April 16, 2012 8:18 pm

    Damn what a kid! Nice work!! If international postage was not so much I would send a bulk box over.

  9. Marco permalink
    April 18, 2012 6:30 am

    Very true Rhys I’d be right with u!!!


  1. Support Sports Cards for Kids « HoopsHobby

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