HARLINGEN — Live streaming a video game might not seem like the typical fundraiser but it can work wonders.
On Thursday, a Harlingen native donated a check to Loaves and Fishes for $5,000.
Parker Coppins left Harlingen to become an actor when he was 15 years old, but came back about a year ago.
The 25-year-old YouTuber is famous for his gaming channel and his gaming show in Disney XD. In the show, he plays video games in a fake bedroom setting and discusses the games.
Counting all his social media accounts, he has around a million followers.
He caters to a young audience, mostly 7 to 10-year-olds. In order to support his community, he started a fundraiser through his social media and asked his followers to donate whatever amount they could.
Coppins wanted to support Loaves and Fishes and make an impact on both his followers’ lives and the shelter.
“ It’s been amazing to make an impact and do stuff like this where we are streaming and give hope to young kids. They are donating their allowance and helping feed people that need that,” Coppins said.
He live-streamed through Easter weekend and raised $5,000 with the help of merchandise sold and an extra $460 through donations done to his parents’ church, First Christian Church.
“ Everyone has the opportunity to give and bring hope and right now things feel hopeless but moments like this make the biggest impact and change,” he said. “The feeling of giving is better than the recognition and to hear them be inspired is such a powerful seed you are able to plant,” Coppins said.
Executive Director Bill Reagan was not familiar with Coppins’ Youtube following or activities but said he has known Coppins’ father for a few years.
Both are pastors and avid runners.
“ I taught a community Bible class for 13 years and now he is the teacher. He used to attend the class when I taught it,” he said.
When the shelter-in-place order started, Coppins and his family approached Reagan to let him know he would be fundraising to help the shelter.
Thursday when the check was delivered, Reagan gave a tour of the shelter for Coppins and his family, showing what it offers to homeless people.
Loaves and Fishes gets support from the community all year around but Reagan said this one was unique.
“ We are always glad to have money but the nicest thing about this particular donation is Parker has followers from his YouTube channel all over the world. He encouraged the young people who watch him to consider giving a gift — to me, that is the most important part. This is a whole group of people who maybe never even thought there are homeless people,” he said.
“ They’ve learned such a thing exists and that there is something they can do about it,” Reagan said.
Because of COVID-19, Loaves and Fishes had to cancel its fundraiser events and supporters have lost their jobs but Reagan said this help will help fill those gaps.
“ I never thought how homeless people are more vulnerable. They are on the streets and out in the cold, they are more likely to get sick,” he said.
“ If COVID-19 gets into the homeless population it is going to be a way to be transmitted to the general population. Taking your precautions is good for them and the rest of us, too,” Reagan said.