They're Scoring Goals In The Fight Against Hunger – And Teaching Others Their Skills In The Process
These teens came up with a way to continue playing the sport they love, while helping their community during the pandemic.
Zach Appel and Owen Estee are used to giving their all on the field.
The teens are both on the varsity lacrosse team at Acalanes High School in Lamorinda, CA. When the sports season was canceled due to Covid-19, they wanted to keep their skills up, while also helping those who are struggling in their community.
This summer, Appel and Estee launched "Lacrosse Against Hunger," a program where they coach kids ages 7-14 in exchange for donations to a local charity.
Two high school lacrosse players are teaming up to offer coaching lessons in exchange for donations to a local charity. Richie Purvis/Facebook
"When COVID-19 started spreading through Contra Costa County, I wanted to do something to help people in need. Through Lacrosse Against Hunger, I am able to share a sport I love with other kids, while making a difference," Appel told Patch.com.
All of the proceeds from the boys' lessons are being donated to White Pony Express, a nearby food rescue and recovery program. Volunteers at WPS have been working overtime since the pandemic began to help those who have been affected by the pandemic.
Zach Appel (L) and Owen Estee (R) have donated over $2,000 to White Pony Express. Richie Purvis/Facebook
The lessons cost $25 each, and Appel and Estee teach kids the basics of the sport while sticking to the county's health and safety guidelines. The players practice social distancing, wear masks when they're coming on and off the field, and limit how many players are in the groups.
"It's such an amazing feeling," Estee said. "I've had parents tell me that their kids call it the highlight of their summer. It's something they look forward to every week."
So far, the pair has raised over $2,000 from their GoFundMe page, and they don't plan on stopping anytime soon.
The White Pony Express has been thrilled with the contributions, and reps for the non-profit have said that a lot of young people have also been stepping up to donate or volunteer during the pandemic.
"Our deliveries are now three times as big as they were before COVID, so Zach and Owen are helping us keep our doors open," Eve Birge, the executive director at White Pony Express, said.
Learn more about White Pony Express' mission to end hunger...
video c/o White Pony Express
WPE started in 2013, and the organization serves everyone from children to senior citizens, the homeless and foster youth. The teens' donation will provide over 2,000 meals.
"This is a really big, problematic time, where people are in need. Everything's just a little harder these days," Appel said. "Helping people out by doing the little things, just like donating a few thousand bucks that can raise actually quite a few meals, really is helpful."
The boys feel good about helping their community - and they get to keep playing the sport they love. Julie Rabinovitz
What an amazing way to keep playing the sport they love while helping those who are struggling in their community. Appel and Estee are definitely MVPs in our book!