News Story

Californian Teen Sends Sports Equipment to Tongan Youth

Benson Webb, a California teen, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spent five months living in Tonga, along with his parents and three brothers.

His parents taught school there on a sabbatical leave, a life-changing experience for the whole family.  See this article for more details of their experiences.

Benson noted a limited supply of sports equipment amongst his friends and at the school he attended.

Benson Webb prepares a box of sports equipment for shipment to Tonga, March 2020.
Benson Webb prepares a box of sports equipment for shipment to Tonga, March 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

With four boys in their family, the Webbs had brought some sporting goods from home.

13-year-old Benson said, "Every single day after school, kids would come over to our house and ask to borrow sports equipment, and I would get it out and play with them."  

When it was time for Benson and his family to return to America, he left the sports equipment behind for his friends, but wanted to do more.  He realised that many of his friends in the US had an abundance of sporting goods and decided to start a donation drive for his Tongan friends and others.   

Silas Moa from Benson's Californian Latter-day Saint ward (congregation) has Tongan heritage and was called to serve as a missionary in Tonga. Silas' mother asked if she could assist in Benson's efforts. After being given the green light, she started a Facebook donation drive. With the help of many generous donors, they raised approximately $2,000.  

Benson and his friends placed sports equipment donation boxes in their community which attracted many donations. They sent out e-mails and made posters to spread the word.  

When he learned that children at a Tongan school for students with autism really like to play with Lego, Benson and his friends donated their own supplies.

They also did research on what other types of toys are best for children with autism. Using some of the money that was raised, they purchased additional toys.   

Benson's mother, Leah Webb, sent a thank you note to those who supported the project.

"Benson and his friends completed their community service project for Tonga. They packed an enormous crate and went to the Port of Oakland and sent it on a ship. It left the harbor March 21st and we confirmed that it is on its way."

She continued: "Thanks to your generosity, we were able to send so much more than we had expected. For example, they had a wish list with one volleyball net. We sent six!" 

Benson and his friends sent the following to Tongan communities and young people:

2 soccer goals 

28 soccer balls 

5 basketballs 

Some ball pumps

1 catchers set with helmet

3 bats

92 baseballs

1 wiffle ball bat

5 wiffle balls

9 softballs

6 baseball gloves

9 tennis balls

15 volleyballs

6 volleyball nets

29 rugby balls

2 backpacks

3 bags of sports clothes

4 basketball shoes

7 pairs soccer/rugby shoes

1 pair running shoes

1 baseball bag

1 ping pong set

In addition, they sent the following supplies for use in schools:

5 bottles of bubbles

32 play doh containers

20 hot wheels cars

2 counting piggy banks

1 sound puzzle

1 popcorn vacuum

1 erector set

1 zoob infinity set 

1 mega marble maze

250 Duplo big blocks

20,000 Lego

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