A Mesa service club will sponsor 37 Little League players this year, despite dwindling support from the city and other sources.
The Mesa Sertoma Club has donated $2,250 to the 400-member Mesa Westwood Little League to sponsor children who couldn't afford to play.
This is the second year the club has sponsored players from the league, though the club regularly supports individual teams, said Sertoma board chairman Walt Zimmerman. He said the club sponsored 29 players last year.
"Our purpose, as our name implies, is service to mankind," Zimmerman said. "It's service to community."
The Sertoma Club is probably best known around Mesa for sponsoring the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot and the Fourth of July fireworks at Mesa Community College.
Zimmerman said raising funds to sponsor such events is "a constant battle."
He said financial support from cash-strapped Mesa has "virtually disappeared," and the amount of money they raise determines how many events and organizations the club can support.
Along with supporting community programs, Zimmerman is hoping the donation will spark more interest in the club, which he said is struggling with declining membership.
"Society as a whole, seen from my personal experience, has drifted away from the concept of community," Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said he first joined the club as a new banker at Northwestern Mutual after he got some good advice.
"When I first started in 1973, an agent said you will be out in the community selling and earning a living from the community," Zimmerman said. "You owe the community in which you do business. You earn the money and you've got to give it back."