VIDEO: Saanich high school students, firefighters hit 200 home runs for the hungry

Tyson Frolek, a Grade 12 student at Lambrick Park Secondary School, hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)Tyson Frolek, a Grade 12 student at Lambrick Park Secondary School, hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)
Dexter Stoiber, a Grade 12 student at Lambrick Park Secondary School, hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)Dexter Stoiber, a Grade 12 student at Lambrick Park Secondary School, hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)
Firefighter Phil Reaume hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club as part of Home Runs for the Hungry, a fundraiser run by students at Lambrick Park Secondary School to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)Firefighter Phil Reaume hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club as part of Home Runs for the Hungry, a fundraiser run by students at Lambrick Park Secondary School to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)
Noah Charlton, a Grade 12 student at Lambrick Park Secondary School, hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)Noah Charlton, a Grade 12 student at Lambrick Park Secondary School, hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)
Fire Capt. Aaron Charlton hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club as part of Home Runs for the Hungry, a fundraiser run by students at Lambrick Park Secondary School to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)Fire Capt. Aaron Charlton hits a home run at the Victoria HarbourCats Players Club as part of Home Runs for the Hungry, a fundraiser run by students at Lambrick Park Secondary School to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. (Charlotte Aitken photo)

Can home runs help feed the hungry? They can when Noah Charlton, Tyson Frolek and Dexter Stoiber and some Saanich firefighters are at bat.

The three teens, Grade 12 students at Lambrick Park Secondary School and avid baseball players, started the Home Runs for the Hungry fundraiser as part of a final project for their Career and Life Connections class – a planning course students must take to graduate.

They initially hoped to raise $200 by offering to hit a home run for every dollar donated. All three play baseball – Charlton and Stoiber plan to pursue the sport at the post-secondary level – so they felt it was fitting. They quickly surpassed the initial goal when Dansko Studios and Thrifty Foods donated $250 and $200 respectively.

While brainstorming possible charities to support, Charlton got the idea to team up with the Saanich Fire Department to raise money for the Mustard Seed Food Bank because his father, Capt. Aaron Charlton, works for the department.

Firefighter Bonnie Fiala, director of the Saanich Fire Fighters’ Association charitable foundation, was “super excited” to take part in the fundraiser and help the students support the local food bank – especially during a year when so many are struggling financially.

“We partner with a lot of organizations through the year” to assist various local charities – including the Mustard Seed – so this was a “good fit,” she said.

The plan – devised with the help of mentor Brian Catinus, firefighter and president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 967 – was to do the home runs with Charlton’s father and firefighter Phil Reaume, in front of a large crowd at a celebratory event, but with pandemic restrictions, the students had to make other plans.

Instead, on April 11, the five went to Victoria HarbourCats Players Club, a training centre on Cook Street, and spent 45 minutes collectively hitting 200 home runs while streaming live on YouTube.

As of April 16, nearly $700 had been donated – more than triple the target. Stoiber said they plan to keep the GoFundMe page open until April 23 for any final contributions before they turn the money over to the Mustard Seed.

Running a fundraiser during a pandemic and having to change plans at the last minute was “pretty difficult but it was also really fun,” Charlton said. Once all the funds are in, the students must present a slideshow about the project for course credit.

To donate, visit Home Runs for the Hungry on GoFundMe.com.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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