A high school teacher has used his love of playing video games to help a good cause.
Zachary McCarter, who teaches German at Papillion La Vista High School in Nebraska, started a five-day marathon on the live streaming platform Twitch to raise money to wipe out lunch debt, reported KETV.
"When I was in high school, I refused to eat lunch knowing I didn't have any money in my account," McCarter said. "My goal in life is to talk about lunch debt in the past tense.”
McCarter organized a charity speedrun marathon entitled All Kids Deserve To Eat 2020, with the goal of raising $2500.
He also originally planned to have the marathon last for 24 hours, but the demand to play in the charity game was overwhelming.
“I set it up as something that people could sign up for that I would host on my channel for 24 hours,” he told Kotaku. “It had so many submissions that I thought, ‘How about I break this into two days for 15 hours each?’”
The teacher kept extending the run and it ultimately went for five days.
The tournament also surpassed his financial expectations as donations quickly exceeded his initial goal.
"We completely smashed that. People were just coming in with donation after donation," McCarter told KETV.
In the end, he was able to raise $16,000 toward eliminating lunch debt. McCarter was put in touch with a local school in dire need and will donate $10,000 to $13,000 to Wildewood Elementary School in Ralston. The rest will go towards other schools in the area.
McCarter is glad he was able to help, but finds the entire situation distressing.
“It’s tough because the fact that I had to do this charity in this first place is saddening,” he said.
McCarter says his work is not done and has big plans, which include turning the Twitch tournament into an annual event.
“We’re actually going to be establishing All Kids Deserve To Eat as a nonprofit organization,” he told Kotaku. “There are great organizations for other things education-related related to feeding children, but I wanted something that focused on that lunch aspect.”