By Aaron Williams–

An organized video game contest will help raise funds for Volunteers of America.

A coalition of college men residing in University of Louisville Properties will host a philanthropy event in the Red Barn on Feb. 19 that offers participants the opportunity to test their skills at an N64 classic and help support the Kentucky chapter of Volunteers of America.

The event is being coordinated by Beemal Patel, leasing and marketing professional for University of Louisville Properties, and sponsored by the Meat & Potatoes discussion group program series created by LaMont Johnson, Building Manager for Community Park and Billy Minardi Hall of ULP.

“I typically do large charity events under the Meat & Potatoes name,” said Patel, “We have been doing a video game series every six to twelve months. Normally it is a hot game that will be releasing soon, but this one was by popular demand for the classic game.”

The game in question is none other than Super Smash Brothers. The event is a charity tournament that will feature both a Singles and Doubles bracket and offers U of L students a chance to square off as their favorite N64 character in benefit to Volunteers of America. The price of admission is free and students are encouraged to donate what they can towards the charitable cause.

“It’s nice that we can use video games for something better than killing time after class,” said senior history major Joshua Lynn, who plans to attend the tournament.

“The Meat & Potatoes program has had a lot of success not only through featuring topical, diversity and other related issues at our discussion-based events, but also getting out in the community by fundraising and promoting more awareness to noteworthy charities,” said LaMont Johnson on the origins of the Super Smash Brother tournament, “Each semester we literally try to put the word “fun” in fundraising.”

Organizers for the tournament have already gathered $600 in private donations. According to Patel, the funds are ready to be matched by whatever amount students give. The RSO that raises the most money for the philanthropy will not only get their amount doubled, but also donated in their name. That organization will also receive free chips and queso for their first meeting in March.

When asked why Volunteers of America was the chosen philanthropy for February, Patel said, “Their housing program takes in families and keeps them together, which is usually unheard of. Most organizations have to separate families into different dorms or places to stay. VoA also does not discriminate against LGBTQ, military veterans, same sex partners with children, or regards to how they became homeless. They also work with families on why they became homeless from drug addictions to irresponsible financial use and help them work on it. Plus they provide school help, socially and academically, to children and provide meals and activities for them.”

Meat & Potatoes along with ULP will be making welcome baskets for children and families that come to the tournament. The baskets will include basic necessities such as linens, blankets and toiletries as well as small gifts.

Volunteers of America could not be reached for comment on the Super Smash Brothers tournament, but the Kentucky chapter’s website states that the organization’s mission is serve individuals and families in need throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Southern Indiana.

“By serving those who need the help most, we play a critical role in community change – filling important gaps for those who would otherwise be overlooked. We see the potential in everyone and help them accomplish more than they ever thought possible.”

[email protected]
Photos courtesy of Flickr/Marco Gomes