Donations pour in for high school rifle team after school board rejects NRA money

(CNN) — A high school rifle team in Pennsylvania will be getting new gear thanks to community businesses rallying around it after the school board voted against accepting a National Rifle Association grant.

The Stroudsburg High School rifle team has been using equipment that dated to the 1970s and was in need of an upgrade. The team learned about an NRA grant that would cover the nearly $5,000 cost of its new equipment. The team applied in December and recently learned it had won a grant. The last step the rifle team needed was the school board’s approval.

On Monday, the Stroudsburg area school board voted six to two to reject the grant.

“The kids were very upset and I was upset myself,” rifle team coach Mike Qendro told CNN affiliate WNEP.

“I was like, ‘OK, we really need this and it’s great we got it,’ and then, all of a sudden, ‘No, you can’t have it.’ But out of that sprung up local community members, just grass-roots, to take care of the team.”

Around a dozen community businesses donated nearly $6,000 to the team.

“It wouldn’t be acceptable if the football team was using helmets from the 1970s, so as a local community, we didn’t feel it was acceptable for the rifle team to,” businessman Brian Winot told CNN affiliate WNEP.

The donation was dropped off on Wednesday to the superintendent and because it is considered a gift, the school board doesn’t have to approve it.

The rifle team is now all set to have new equipment before its competition season begins in the fall.