David Sanchez, director of ethics and justice for the Texas Baptists Christian Life Commission (CLC), hosted the third annual Bits4Bites fundraiser Aug. 3 and 4, raising over $1,900 for the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering during an 18-hour Twitch streaming event.
Twitch, a service that focuses on video game live-streaming, gives gamers the opportunity to play their favorite games for a live audience and collect donations from viewers. Sanchez played retro games like Super Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog as well as other more modern games.
“All of it is a lot of fun. Just building connections with people…and watching people bond over video games and rally around a good cause together,” he said.
The two-day streaming event was the kickoff for a month-long giving emphasis for the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering—with a goal of raising $5,000 total. Even after the Bits4Bites stream ended, a generous donor matched the first $1,000 given, and donations continue to come in.
In addition to gaming, Sanchez also put his sewing skills to use, creating fun donation incentives. People who donate $50 or more receive a Mario Kart pillow, and those who donate $100 or more receive a custom Mario Bros hat with a letter and color of their choosing.
Sanchez said Bits4Bites is also about showing Texas Baptists that they can use their unique talents, skills and hobbies for God’s glory.
“I encourage other people to do whatever sort of hobby they have to raise money,” he said. “It can be really simple, too. Say you and your friends enjoy going to the movies—instead of getting concessions, make a donation to the Hunger Offering. Or if you meet together to play board games with friends, find a way to use that hobby as a way to give.”
“Bits4Bites is such a unique opportunity connecting hobbies with missions giving,” said Irene Gallegos, director of hunger and care ministries with the CLC. "There are many ways to promote giving: sports tournaments, craft or bake sales, VBS challenges…however you get involved, thank you for joining and being ‘all in’ for the fight against hunger.”
While the official Bits4Bites streaming marathon has ended, members of the Texas Baptists family are encouraged to continue giving to the Hunger Offering throughout the month of August to meet and hopefully exceed Sanchez’s $5,000 goal.
Churches are also encouraged to take a special offering to fight hunger on 5th Sundays - the last Sunday of every month that has five Sundays - throughout the year. Remaining 5th Sunday dates in 2023 include Oct. 29 and Dec. 31.
“100% of donations to the Hunger Offering go directly to faith-based food ministries in Texas and around the world,” Sanchez said. “We love that we’re able to say that. Everything goes to ministries providing meals and fighting food insecurity.”