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FEATURE: Quakes fan to donate sweepstakes winnings to community

To commemorate Cinco de Mayo, the San Jose Earthquakes held a sweepstakes for fans to win a virtual Cinco de Mayo party pack. The winner of the sweepstakes would receive eight delicious helpings of chips, guacamole and salsa from Arteaga’s in San Jose and an assortment of beer and micheladas from Estrella Jalisco, as well as an Intermedia video chat with fan favorite midfielder Shea Salinas.

Longtime Quakes season ticket holder Chris Sheckley won the prize, and swiftly asked that the assortment of food be donated to those more in need. The chips, guacamole and salsa was given to Hunger at Home, a nonprofit that channels excess food and surplus goods to homeless and hungry individuals and families.

As a thank you from Sheckley, the drinks will go to the Quakes’ stadium operations team, which has continued to staff one person on-site each weekday to keep the front office building safe and secure during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sheckley and his family are no strangers to the Quakes, or to community stewardship. He and his wife run the UP Academy, a school in San Mateo. The school’s mission is to “cultivate a generation of creative, curious, free-thinking problem-solvers through an education that embraces differing abilities.” The school touts its unique neuro-development program, which helps “transform inclusion education with an integrated therapeutic method,” according to its mission statement.

The idea for the school, and the manifestation of its existence, was inspired by Eliza, the daughter of Chris and his wife Tanya. As a child, Eliza had Cerebral Palsy, a condition which prevents movement and speech.

 

Eliza tragically passed away on March 11, 2016, at just six years old. The Earthquakes held a moment of silence for Eliza, who was a huge fan of the team, and the Quakes Foundation subsequently helped host Eliza’s celebration of life.

In the midst of an unthinkable loss, Chris and Tanya founded the UP Academy as a way to fill a flaw in the educational system. Their neuro-development program places an emphasis on a method which “views both life skills and academic achievement with equal value,” according to its website.

When Sheckley won the sweepstakes held by the Quakes, he knew he wanted to do his part to help others. In more ways than one, both the Quakes and Sheckley are proud to help the community in times of need.


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