Donors play childhood games to fight hunger

Donors play childhood games to fight hunger
The Swisher Emojis: Megan Cunningham, Chelsea Virta-Steel, Shelby Abisnay, Ria Saldajeno, Caroline Casey, Annie Goodwin, Ava Carrillo, Rose Montana, Emma Dodd, Christina Salvatore and Kendall McAvoy; not pictured, Kylie Maldonado

More than 150 participants raised more than $5,400 to help feed hungry families in Jacksonville when they competed in the First Annual Hunger Fight Games at The Bolles School’s Skinner-Barco Stadium Aug. 15.

Organized by Sherri and Dean Porter of San Marco, the event was a fundraiser for the nonprofit Hunger Fight, Inc. of North Florida.

Ria Saldajeno of the Swisher Emojis struggled with her sack in the race.

Ria Saldajeno of the Swisher Emojis struggled with her sack in the race.

Fourteen teams competed in the relay events that included the bat spin, water-balloon toss, egg toss, big-foot race, bag-over-the-head race, sack race, tricycle race, hula-hoop race, three-leg race, tug-of-war and a trivia contest.

Tijuana Flats of Riverside won the event with the lowest accumulated time over all the events. Placing second was Orangetheory Fitness, a team manned by athletes from its Hodges Boulevard location but financially supported by employees at its Ortega, Mandarin and Hodges locations. In third place was Watson Realty of Lakewood.

The Emojis, one of three teams sponsored by the cigar company Swisher International, won a trophy for the most creatively designed t-shirt. The Emoji team was comprised of students from Assumption Catholic School, LaVilla School of the Arts, Alice B. Landrum Middle School in Ponte Vedra and Fruit Cove Middle School.

Other teams competing in the event were: Digital Risk, United Healthcare, Coggin Honda, GE, PCA, BJ’s, St. Johns Cares, Kohl’s and two other teams sponsored Swisher International – Swisher Kings and Swisher Sweeties.

“It’s just a fun way to raise money to buy the ingredients we need for the meals we pack,” said Hunger Fight Board Member Lenora Bodway.

There are 342,000 hungry people in Jacksonville and 125,00 are children, said Dean Porter. Each dollar provides a meal for a hungry family of four, Porter said.

Ria Saldajeno of the Swisher Emojis struggled with her sack in the race.

Ria Saldajeno of the Swisher Emojis struggled with her sack in the race.

Annie Goodwin competes in the sack relay for the Swisher Emoji team.

Annie Goodwin competes in the sack relay for the Swisher Emoji team.

A member of the Tijuana Flats team competes in the hula hoop race.

A member of the Tijuana Flats team competes in the hula hoop race.

Volunteers Amy and Luke Gadapee of Miramar

Volunteers Amy and Luke Gadapee of Miramar

The trike relay was the first event in the Hunger Fight Games.

The trike relay was the first event in the Hunger Fight Games.

Hunger Fight, Inc. Board Members Lenora Bodway and Mike Knuth

Hunger Fight, Inc. Board Members Lenora Bodway and Mike Knuth

Hunger Fight organizers Mike Knuth, Sherri Porter and Dean Porter.

Hunger Fight organizers Mike Knuth, Sherri Porter and Dean Porter.

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