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12-year-old sells dozens of bats to raise money for Iowans in the aftermath of derecho

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Cedar Rapids kid makes bats for derecho aftermath

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KGAN) -- A 12-year-old boy is still raising money to help families in Iowa struggling in the wake of a severe storm.

Between homework assignments, you can find Tommy making home-made baseball bats that he sells all over the nation.

"Usually, I go to school one day, and then the next day my dad has dials for me ready to go. And then I just make bats that day," said Tommy.

Tommy's bats have become a hit weeks after the storm, with some funds going directly to recovery efforts.

"Once we knew we sold 100, we were gonna give twenty dollars of each bat to the Greater Cedar Rapids Foundation. So we knew we were going to sign a check for 2,000. But orders kept coming in so we actually haven't signed that check yet," said Amanda Rhomberg, Tommy's mom.

To date, Tommy has shipped 50 bats, but this ballgame far from over.

"We've been starting with just a 3x3 square, and my dad has been cutting the 45 degree angles off of them. And then he makes them round so I can start forming them into a bat," said Tommy.

It's been a family effort to get the bats stained, stenciled and shipped to a new home after they are off the lathe. And orders have been coming from all over the country.

"There's a small handful from local people that we know and the majority are from all over the place. Yes from Cedar Rapids, we've shipped one to Connecticut, to Arizona," said Amanda.

Working with a 12-year-old entrepreneur can be quite the change-up.

"We kept him up way past his bed time one night to get all the shipping labels printed and the bats packaged up so he could get them mailed," said Amanda.

But the overall mission has been a home run.

"With a ton of people having damage, I feel like it will help them rebuild," said Tommy.

The Rhomberg family says before Tommy can work on any of his bats, he must finish all of his homework.

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