San Leandro students help Castlemont H.S. football players in need

- A group of students from San Leandro High School participated in a fundraising run and donated all proceeds to help a group of Oakland students fighting poverty and hunger.

Students from the Jefferson Service Awards Club at SLHS held the run Monday afternoon in the Oakland Hills. They enlisted the help of the school’s cross country team to make the 8 mile run that ended at Castlemont High School. The run started with seven students and grew to about 100. Each donated cash to participate.

The money will go directly to the football team at Castlemont High School. Head Football Coach Edward Washington said more than half of the players on the team are dealing with financial issues or hunger. He said at one point, a few of them were homeless.

“It’s an eye opener of how they’re so close to us and this is happening in our community,” Cindy Mai, a senior at SLHS, said.

Castlemont football captain Jayden Sparks said his family has struggled.

“I am blessed with a magnificent mother who goes above and beyond,” he said. “She’ll starve herself to feed us.”

Washington was presented with an envelope of money totaling about $4,000 on behalf of the Jefferson Service Awards Club.

“If we have people like this that work off of love and operate with love it would be a different paradigm in our community,” he said.

The students said the fundraising run was challenging, but rewarding.

“It was difficult, but compared to what they have to go through it’s nothing,”

Washington said the team, which recently came into the spotlight for their protests during the national anthem at their games, is also receiving help privately from 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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