By Emily fahey
As America’s favorite pastime, baseball is a cherished part of many people’s lives, including senior Dan Berke’s. Rather than simply playing the sport, Berke created a way to combine doing something he loves with giving back to the community.
Berke has been organizing Daniel’s Charity Softball Game for the past six years, and this was the event’s final year.
Said Berke: "It all started as my Bar Mitzvah project. Everyone else was organizing clothing and food drives, which are great, but I wanted to do something unique."
Berke said the idea came to him on the way to a travel baseball game. He thought a charity softball game would be a nice way to get everyone he knew involved and also to raise money for a good cause.
According to Berke, each year the money raised is donated to a different charity. In previous years, the money was donated to Children’s Specialized Hospital and Canine Companions for Independence; this year, the donations went to Furniture Assists.
Said Berke: "Furniture Assists is a charity based in Kenilworth, which collects furniture from donors and gives to those in need. The money we raised from this year’s game went to buying storage bins to hold the furniture."
According to Berke, Daniel’s Charity Softball Game raised about $4,300 this year, the most money ever raised. Over the past six years, the games have raised a total of more than $20,000 for various charities.
This year’s game took place on Sept. 25 in Tamaques Park where parents played against kids. The parents proved victorious with a 7-3 win.
Since Berke is graduating this spring, this was the last charity game he could organize. Said Berke, "I’ve been looking for someone else to pick it up, but like me, most of the kids who participate are seniors."
He added, "This year was one of the best because we had a lot of people playing and great support; more people were inspired to donate knowing that it was the last year."
Senior Jake Harris said: "I’ve been participating in the game for six years now, and I think Dan has done a terrific job organizing it every year. It’s a lot of hard work that doesn’t get noticed, and for a kid to be mature enough to organize this big of an event is a great accomplishment."
Said Berke: "It’s a bittersweet end. I’m really going to miss the sense of community that came with the game. It was an opportunity for everyone to come together and have fun."