BELTON, TX — The Central Texas fishing community had a boatload of fun Saturday, all while supporting a cause many said is much greater than the sport.
What started off as a high school project nearly a decade ago, turned into a passion for the Garcia's.
“You’re giving the parents, you’re giving the community hope,” Robert Garcia, the organizer of the tournament and owner of RPG Outdoors said. “There’s still people out there willing to do something, we still care for each other, we’re still a world of caring people.”
For almost seven years, the couple ran Shoeboxes for Hope, a charity event at Feed my Sheep in Temple.
But once Angela Garcia’s mom underwent surgery last year, they had to adjust their game plan.
“For something as simple as us, you know, we go out and spend 20 bucks on a meal, why don’t we do something for a child,” Garcia questioned. “For that child, that’s way much more than that.”
Now, they host the annual Fishing with Friends tournament at Temple Lake Park, an event that benefits struggling families.
What does it cost to enter?
Just two toys.
“Everybody knows that everybody is struggling right now,” Ryan Lockwood, a participant in the tournament said. “So for us to be able to come out and do this you know, it means a lot and it says a lot about Texans.”
Lockwood drove up from San Antonio for Saturday’s event.
He joined about 40 other anglers from all different backgrounds.
“For me, to get that feeling from the military and kind of apply it to this, is very rewarding,” Edwin Ferrer added. “It makes me feel like I’m doing something bigger than myself.”
Especially during a worldwide pandemic, the Garcia's said the Central Texas fishing community is stringing together stronger than ever.
“Aside from all the havoc that’s going on, that means nothing, that just means we’re bigger than that. We can be more and be there for each other,” Garcias said.
The toys and proceeds collected are distributed to several Central Texas ministries as well as the fill a boat for Toys for Tots in Harker Heights, all benefiting families struggling this holiday.