By Kennington Smith
Everyday, college students around the world share one common problem: hunger; often times resorting to cheap items like Ramen Noodles to eat. Junior Alex Johnson understands the struggle of hunger but not that of college students, but children around the world.
“When I thought about it, there are kids around the world that’re hungry all the time; not temporarily but that’s how they live”, Johnson said. “That’s heartbreaking to me so I began thinking of interesting ways to help the youth and have fun at the same time.”
Combining his first love of basketball and his passion for ending world hunger, Johnson founded Hoops For Humanity, a new organization on campus aimed to end hunger through basketball.
Throughout the school year, HFH will put on numerous basketball related events with all proceeds going to fight child hunger in Africa and purchasing canned goods for the Athens community.
There’ll be an entry fee for every team, playing in various tournament types (round robin, single or double elimination) with a prize for the winning team at the end. With the inaugural tournament set for October, HFH has possible ideas for couples, 3-on-3, 5-on-5 and “March Madness.”
For those who may not play basketball, Johnson assures that there are ways to get involved.
“Support is literally everything, I know the power of what the UGA community can do,” he said. “Come out, cheer on the participants, help out in our fundraisers and donate as many canned goods as possible. Help in any fashion is greatly appreciated.”
There will be non-basketball related events such as NBA 2K tournaments, pong tournaments and other fundraisers such as car washes and percentage nights. The first 2K tournament is scheduled for September 18th.
Their first event will take place this weekend: A joint pool party with the Zeta Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. at Athens Ridge Townhomes on Saturday. The party will take place from 3 pm-6 pm and will include food, music and a special promotion from one of HFH’s sponsors: Papa John’s.
Anyone who attends the party with three canned goods will receive a coupon for a free, one-large topping pizza.
Along with Papa John’s, Hoops For Humanity has partnered with the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks will be donating jerseys, signed memorabilia, and will allow HFH to host a tournament in Phillips Arena where the participants will get a chance to meet the players and stay for that night’s game.
“It shows that people are receptive to the idea and are passionate about our cause, we’re partner with the Atlanta Dream, Harlem Globetrotters and other basketball organizations as well” Johnson said.
In addition to the tournaments, Hoops For Humanity will have a UGA club basketball team. This team will travel to other schools and compete as well as have home games; a schedule of these games will be released soon.
Though only an executive board right now, HFH is looking to expand to committees that will support e-board members. More information about how to get involved with these committees will be released soon as well.
In the future, Johnson sees the org progressing beyond UGA and expanding to a national sensation.
“This is only the beginning”, he said. We want to expand to AAU tournaments and bigger and better events that will continue to serve our mission until there is not one child left hungry.”
Once again, this Saturday there will be a joint pool party with the Zeta Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. at Athens Ridge Townhomes from 3 pm-6 pm. Anyone who attends the party with three canned goods will receive a coupon for a free, one-large topping pizza.
You can keep up with all things Hoops For Humanity by following their social media pages:
Facebook: UGA HFH