Douglaston teen organizes pickleball tournament to raise thousands for local food bank

Pickleball players4 DM
Photo by Doris Meadows, volunteer publicist for NOSH

After sustaining a tennis injury, a Douglaston teen helped organize a pickleball tournament to raise thousands of dollars for a local food bank.

Alistair Wright, a junior at Locust Valley’s Friends Academy, created the Rally for Hunger tournament and raised $4,500 for North Shore Soup Kitchen’s NOSH program, which delivers weekly food supplies to more than 500 families in Bayville, Glen Cove, Roslyn Locust Valley and Sea Cliff.

Back in September, the avid tennis player and member of his school’s tennis team tore a ligament in his ankle while playing the sport. Wright said that he “wanted to make good use of my time” while recovering from his injury.

Photo by Doris Meadows, volunteer publicist for NOSH

He reached out to school faculty members Erin Nolan and Rachael Arredondo, who told him about a fire at NOSH’s former headquarters, causing the program to lose essential equipment and food.

“I chose NOSH as the beneficiary for a fundraising event because through other volunteer work I had learned how widespread food insecurity is,” Wright said.

The Douglaston student chose pickleball since it combined elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, is played indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and “can be played by anyone at any age.”

Photo by Renee Swanson, NSSK/NOSH board member and fundraising chairman

Wright collaborated with fellow tennis team member Daniel Duke and school friends Austin Notaris, Russel Notaris and Quinn Dougherty to build a plan and identify resources. The student contacted the head of Robbie Wagner’s Tournament Training Center, who agreed to donate his training venue for the tournament.

He then created a Rally for Hunger website, designed flyers, spoke at churches to drum up awareness and obtained sponsorships from local businesses.

“I’m so impressed that such young people as Alistair and his Rally for Hunger team recognized the need and stepped up with such a well-thought-out and executed event,” said NSSK/NOSH board member and fundraising chair Renee Swanson.

Photo by Doris Meadows, volunteer publicist for NOSH

She added that the organization was grateful “at the number of people who have come forward to recognize the importance of our work and to raise funds for us.”