Games to fight hunger

Video fundraiser COVID-safe means St. Vincent Games 2 can go ahead regardless of lockdown

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St. Vincent Place has a new fundraising event aimed at bringing family and friends together in a COVID-safe way while raising donations for the organization.
Billed as the Fight Hunger Games 2.0, the event will have two parts that participants can get involved in. The first will be a game-a-thon, in which teams will collect pledges for committing to playing any game for a set amount of time. The second part will be a virtual Fortnite tournament.
“We had a Fight Hunger Games event in spring of 2019, but it was much different than this, which is why this one is ‘2.0,’” said Nat Cicchelli, St. Vincent Place general manager. “This version will be fully COVID-safe so that it can go on uninterrupted regardless of whether or not we are in the middle of a lockdown when the event actually happens.”
As a virtual event, the organization is not setting a single date for the game-a-thon portion of the event, but will ask participants to complete their gaming between June 1 and 13.
The Fortnite tournament will be held the weekend of June 12 and 13.
To ensure the event will meet whatever pandemic regulations are in place at that time, St. Vincent Place encourages game-a-thon participants to ensure their team is already made up of those within their “COVID bubble.”
They can choose any kind of game – board games, RPGs (like Dungeons and Dragons), sports, or video games. If a group of people who are not within each other’s social circles wants to put together a team, St. Vincent Place encourages them to choose video games as a good way to stay safe. That is also a good way for individuals without a team to participate on their own.
“The game-a-thon is simple,” Cicchelli told Sault This Week. “The team just decides what they’ll play and for how long, then they collect pledges from donors based on that amount of time. Then, whenever they are able during the two-week event window, they play their chosen game wherever it works for them.”
Participants can sign up for an online pledge form through the St. Vincent Place website, so even their fundraising can be completed virtually.
Part 2 of Fight Hunger Games 2.0 will be a virtual Fortnite tournament.
The tournament will have two age groups (13 and under, 14 and over) with a $25 entry fee. Each tournament participant will have a one- to two-hour window in which to play three ‘solo’ rounds of Fortnite, and the average of their scores will determine their placement in the tournament. Depending on the number of entrants, play will be in up to four rounds throughout the weekend. 
Because players won’t be able to come together for an in-person tournament, and options to bring participants together virtually are very costly, entrants will be required to send photo proof of their scores to tournament organizers. The tournament prizes are not set yet, but Cicchelli confirmed one or two prizes will go to winners in each of the age groups.
With its focus on gaming and families, St. Vincent Place hopes Fight Hunger Games 2.0 will raise awareness of the organization and its services among a different crowd than its regular donors.
“We do have several families that donate to us and who participate in the Coldest Night of the Year, but the vast majority of our donors are seniors,” said Cicchelli. “We hope that this event will open up some doors and raise awareness of what we do among younger age groups. We also wanted to provide a fun way for families and younger people to come together while helping a good cause.”
All funds raised through the Fight Hunger Games 2.0 will support St. Vincent Place’s new Lunches for Learning program. That program, launched in September, provides school lunch foods for families in need.
“We provide packages for 35 families every week through that program,” said Cicchelli. “The packages contain some nonperishables that we receive as donations, such as granola bars, fruit cups, and canned tuna, but we also try to provide fresh foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, yogurt, and bread.”
The organization spends around $300 every week buying those items.
“It’s an expensive program, but we know the need is there so we’re happy to have the community support to be able to offer it,” said Cicchelli. “Funds raised through this event will help ensure that we can continue to offer it going forward.”


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