Lucas Mayes of Breckenridge, Minnesota, and his charity partner, Chuck Stahl, in Omaha, Nebraska, have been deemed one of five of NorthStar Genetics’ Community Stars, awarding them $1,000 to give to a local charity, so they can continue to help their rural community. NorthStar Genetics’ Community Star winners are selected based on nominations of exceptional community members who have gone above and beyond to help their community or people around them thrive.
The pair started their charity, Helping Out Wherever (HOW), from a deep-rooted want to help their community. It was through their softball team that Mayes and Stahl started their first fundraiser, as a means to help out the family of a community boy suffering from cancer.
Right before McQuade’s, the world’s largest slow pitch softball tournament, they found out that one of their softball sponsors’ son only had about a month to live because he was battling cancer. They decided to make up a poster for Carter and dedicate their play at the tournament to him. They ended up being the consolation champs. After the tournament, everyone on the team signed a ball for him. Carter passed shortly afterwards.
The duo, decided to help try and raise some money to help the family and let the sponsor know they cared about him. Mayes says. “I had never met him, but I heard stories about him and how he was more worried about how his friends were going to handle his passing, and that says a lot about him.”
The pair sold armbands to the community with the name of the boy, raising $800.00 for the family.
From there, Mayes and Stahl started a couple of different raffles that were successful, and that’s when HOW started to snowball.
Holidays are another way in which HOW assists their community. Through food and gift drives, the duo was able to help several area families.
“Last year on the Friday before Thanksgiving we were like, ‘we need to do something to help some families,’” Mayes says. “In four days, we had five meals and eight turkeys to deliver to families that may not be able to afford it otherwise. We hand-delivered it to the families too, which gave us even more of a spark and a drive to push. You can see the gratitude on their face and when they genuinely appreciate it.”
In just two years, Reloaded Stockings (named after Mayes’ softball team, Reloaded), the HOW Christmas program, has increased output from 100 stockings for the community to 150.
“We got donations from the movie theater and lots of businesses around town – they were jampacked full of cool stuff, and the kids got to meet Santa on the event day,” says Mayes. “It was so we could try to help people that wouldn’t get a present on Christmas, but we didn’t make it just for them because we didn’t want to single them out, so we left it open to the public.”
Donating school supplies from their “Tools for Teaching” program is another way Helping Out Wherever has been getting involved. The duo bought 47 $20 gift cards for the teachers in their communities to try to assist with some of the financial burden teachers face.
“My mom was a teacher, [and] she poured her heart, her soul, and her own money into the classroom to make it a learning environment,” says Mayes. “People just expect it to be – to have all the borders, and the cool pictures, and stuff on the wall, and the cool games that teachers do to try to engage OUR children – they just expect it. But the money comes out of their pockets.”
Mayes and Stahl plan to keep the momentum of HOW going and will be using the money they raise to continue acts of kindness in their community. Whether at holiday times, in unfortunate community situations, or to keep teachers supplied, they will be sure to continue the legacy and help out wherever.
NorthStar Genetics is a trusted seed company because of their dedication to local growers and conditions, providing seed that is grown and conditioned locally on the same land as the farmers who grow it. By testing hundreds of varieties, they are able to designate them to specific areas based on local conditions and be confident that they will perform. NorthStar Genetics proudly serves four states, offering the highest quality, locally proven genetics available.