Methuen kickball tournament raises money for Harvey victims

METHUEN, Mass. (WHDH) — People of all ages spent their Labor Day pitching in to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, participating in a kickball tournament to raise money for the storm’s victims.

“We’ve all been through tough times,” said Lawrence native J.J. Rivera, who attended the tournament at Francis Morse Park in Methuen. “Everybody’s going through tough times and this is how you get together.”

The event was organized by David Washington, of New Hampshire, who grew up in Houston.

“My family, lots of cousins, brothers, sisters, have been affected,” Washington said. “About 85% of my family that reside[s] in Houston.”

Washington got in touch with a former co-worker at Oracle in Burlington, Nelson Castillo, to discuss doing something to help.

“He just reached out and was like ‘Hey listen, everything going on, my family lost all of their stuff,'” said Castillo. “‘What can we do together to kind of come up and raise as much money as we can for the victims that were affected by it.”

In just five days of organizing, the two were able to bring out more than 60 people. Participants donated five dollars to play and many more who couldn’t attend in person sent along donations.

The group had raised more than $600 as of late Monday afternoon. The proceeds will go toward Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt’s hurricane relief fund. Both Oracle and Apple have agreed to match the donations raised by the tournament, event organizers said.

It might have been for a good cause, but the players didn’t exactly go easy on each other.

“It’s not your average kickball game,” Washington said. “Or your P.E. kickball game that you were probably used to growing up. Highly competitive.”

That sentiment was shared by one of the day’s youngest participants, six-year-old Josiah Vargas.

“Just kicking a lot,” he said of his performance. “Just making a lot of home runs!”

For Washington, the day was a way to help out even if he is thousands of miles away from his family and friends in Houston.

“It means a lot,” he said of the turnout. “I’m humbled and grateful that people would want to come together for a good cause.”

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