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DB Elijah Hicks Making Big Plays to Help Hungry Kids

April 10, 2020

When Elijah Hicks, one of many Cal athletes working with charities, began raising money for the charity No Kid Hungry last month he announced a goal of $10,000 and quietly hoped to raise $20,000.

Now the sights are even higher. “It’s like at $39,000 and the new goal was 40,” the Cal defensive back said in a phone interview this week, “It keeps going up. People keep on donating, keep on supporting. People posting life stories and all that stuff helped us get to where we are.”

Raising money for charity is nothing new to Hicks, and neither is being in need. Thus his current activity. 

“When everything shut down it was so fast and unexpected that a lot of families weren’t able to feed their children so many times a day,” the 20-year-old senior said, “These kids relied on school lunches and breakfasts to feed the children.

“I relied on those things when I was growing up, I realized how much pressure it would have been on the parents when all of sudden you’ve got to feed all these kids, especially if you had a lot of children in your house like I did. I had a big family (ten siblings) and it could be really stressful.”

The Southern California native last year established a non-profit foundation called Intercept Poverty, which offered general assistance to people in need. Then came the coronavirus and the orders to stay at home. “I was just talking to my dad about ways I could help. My dad still has a lot of kids with him right now and he’s struggling to put food on the table. Especially with closed grocery stores right now in Southern California.

“So I was just like I am going to raise funds for the low-income people who are struggling. And try to help as many as possible. No Kid Hungry is the charity that I am raising money for.”

Not surprisingly Hicks found the group eager for his help. “They had people help me with the fundraising page,” he said, “and all the money will go to that charity.”

HIcks also enlisted the help of fellow Cal DBs Cam Bynum and Ashtyn Davis as well as a small group of players from other schools.

“They have really been helpful, and they are interested and there are other guys who want to help, too,” he said. 

Together they put together a video asking others to pitch in, and posted it on social media. 

"We're so inspired by Elijah's willingness to get involved and help kids," Jessica Bomberg, Associate Director of Peer-To-Peer Fundraising at No Kid Hungry, told the Cal athletic website. "We believe that everyone has a strength to share and can do their part to make a big impact in their own community and nationwide. Elijah is a great example of that.”

He learned it from his parents, (Tony Hicks and Shedra Rucker) who despite their own difficulties always had time to help others. “My parents were always volunteering and helping different people when I was growing up,” Elijah said. “As a family, we’ve always done things . . . given back. They raised me to do it.”

Hicks and several teammates including Jake Curhan, Marcel Dancy, Kuony Deng and Daniel Etter, spend two afternoons a week at the Food Pantry.on the Cal campus.

”We are volunteering, bagging groceries trying to help people in need,” he said. “Of course we’ve got our masks on, and distancing as much as possible.”

Besides his charity work and doing what he can to maintain his conditioning, he has to deal his studies while maintaining isolation.

“I am on Zoom classes,” he said. “It’s not something I signed up for, it’s a lot different. But I’ve taken some online courses before. So I am just responding to adversity like everybody else is. This is not an ideal time for all of us. We are just doing the best we can to get things done.”

One day it is hoped the virus threat will disappear. However, Hicks’ efforts will not.

“We’ve got some great things coming. We are definitely not done with this campaign,” he said. “For the COVID-19 campaign we’re feeding the kids and we are helping bag groceries. Once this is over, once it has passed. We are going to create scholarships for deserving students.

“This idea is something I have been working on. I am in the process of getting my non-profit approval with the IRS and once I have this. I can start raising funds and we can create scholarships for students on the Berkeley campus. We want to make it a nationwide program so we can help other students at other colleges. We have got to start with baby-steps at first.”

Here is a link to the website: No Kid Hungry

Darren Baker’s Generous Gift

Darren Baker, the second baseman on the Cal baseball team and son of Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, donated 100 meals to Feeding America, another organization helping low-income families cope with the current crisis.

Robert Edwards-KLC fotos
Darren Baker

Dusty Baker is one of the most generous of professional athletes both in terms of time and money. It apparently runs in the family.

“Giving back is something I have always done, with my dad going back to high school, I volunteered at a bunch of places in the summer, things like that. One of my former teammates told me about this organization. It sounded really cool. There are a lot of people that need help, especially now so it was something that I wanted to do and hopefully, it helps somebody.”

Others Pitching In

  • Sophomore linebacker Zach Angelillo has been boxing up and giving food away in Fresno. He has been doing this every Saturday. The event is hosted by University Presbyterian Church and supplied by donations from local food banks and grocery stores. 
  • Since Spieker Aquatics Complex was no longer in the picture for Cal's women's water polo team, the student-athletes decided they would keep sharp in different pools on their own while helping a worthy cause in the process. The team decided to take part in Laps For Life, an annual Australian-based fundraiser that raises funds to support mental health. Participants swim laps and ask for donations. 
    Junior Carla Traplin and freshman Ruby Swadling are both from Sydney and helped spearhead the effort, which had to be quickly altered after quarantine measures were put in place. Now, members of the team are walking, running and biking laps instead. 
  • Former swim star Nathan Adrian posted that he was donating a signed Speedo Racing Suit to be auctioned off with the proceeds going directly to the CDP’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Other Cal swim alums including Natalie Coughlin Tom Shields, Josh Prenot and Ryan Murphy are making similar donations.


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