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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Stickball tournament raises over $8,000 for local food pantry

Organizers of Saturday's We Play For Food Stickball Tournament in Little Italy nearly doubled last year's donations to raise over $8,000 worth of food for the Roarke Center food pantry.

Organizer Rocco DeFazio said that he was very excited that they were able to collect so much non-perishable food.

"This will keep them going for four months," DeFazio said. He already has set a goal for next year of $10,000 worth of food raised. He said that the 12 teams and the community all came together to help out the food pantry, some of which know firsthand the good that the Roarke Center does.

DeFazio said that one man came to the event with two big Price Chopper bags of groceries. "You could tell he had been walking for a while," De Fazio said. The man came back again later that day, and the food collector asked him what organization he was with.

"The man said that a while back he lost his job, and that the Roarke Center had helped him out and his family," said DeFazio. "He had walked all the way to the Watervliet Price Chopper to buy food and bring it back twice."

DeFazio said the great thing about the tournament is that it doesn't require a lot of upfront cost.

"The beauty of this event is we don't leave a big footprint," he said. "We do it with just a rubber ball and a broom handle baseball bat."

DeFazio said that the winning team, Deep Six, was made up of "ringers" that play in the Little Italy Stickball League. DeFazio said that he hopes when people hear about the success of the tournament, it will encourage them to get involved next year.

The Roarke Center, located on 4th St., feeds over 500 people every month.

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