In the last two years, food pantries have opened at both Kearns and Cyprus High Schools. Hundreds of students and families come to these pantries each year for food and other basic supplies. Many are students who miss breakfast or lunch or who, at the end of the day, know that they will have no additional meal waiting for them at home. Parents of students come to the pantries regularly in order to take food home for their families. Needless to say, there is an on-going need to replenish the pantries.
Enter Tyler Garcia, who was a long-time resident of Magna, and is a current business teacher/football coach at Kearns High School. Ever since the pantry at Kearns opened its doors two years ago, Garcia has been working to engage the community to provide much needed donations. In addition to reaching out to contacts in the grocery business, Garcia arranged for a news story with Alex Cabrera of KSL, which resulted in a steady flow of donations from generous community members, alumni, businesses, and other organizations. More importantly, high school students, who are normally very reluctant to request food and other necessities, have been more willing to come into the food pantry for assistance. It has also helped build the culture of Kearns High, which promotes a nonjudgmental atmosphere that focuses on the belief that everybody receives and everybody gives.
And now Garcia is at it again: fighting for food…literally. When gym owner, Rob Scott of Legends Boxing Gym, decided to invite business executives to fight each other (in the ring, of course), as a preview to the main attractions for Saturday Fight Nights, Garcia somehow found himself considering an invitation to enter the ring for a feature “teacher vs. Executive” bout. Whereas for most patrons, the idea of seeing your boss/teacher punch out–or get punched out by–another boss/teacher would be the main attraction, Garcia had a different vision. He reluctantly agreed to fight; however, only if it could be a means to involve the community to raise food, As such, attendees are encouraged to bring food items to the event to be donated to the Kearns and Cyprus pantries. They are hoping to bring in 2,000 cans/food items on the night of the fight, as well as an additional 5,000 cans of food from business and community donations in the weeks prior to the fight.
Garcia, who at only 5’8” along with his opponent, 6’ 2” Matt Kohl from Adobe and the other execs just started their nine weeks of training for the Saturday Fight Nights: Executive Edition, which will be held on July 29th at the Riverbend Sports and Events Center.
Garcia, who has coached football, from little league to semi-pro, for over 20 years, recently left the corporate world to become a high school teacher. In his own words, “I found my true calling and became a teacher. I love every minute of it and while I am not making anything close to what I was in ‘Corporate America’, I am the happiest I have ever been in my work. I look forward to coming to work every day and I enjoy every opportunity to make a difference.” What he most looks forward to is to inspiring kids to develop their potential and push themselves to new heights. After reflecting on what he often says to his students “to take advantage of out-of-the-box opportunities,” he knew he had to accept the invitation to fight.
He says, “I do not have any boxing experience and yes I am a bit crazy for doing this, but if it can raise food and awareness to help our students then I am willing to take the punch.” He knows that win or lose the bout, the students and members of two communities he holds dear, Kearns and Magna, will win.
For more information, please go to Tyler Garcia’s “Knockout Hunger” facebook page HERE>>, or to make donations, feel free to call/text at 385-628-9503.
The Executive Fight Night will take place on June 29th at the Riverbend Sports Complex (801-712-6119) .If you decide to attend, we encourage you to use the code “garcia41” for a 15% discount…and don’t forget to bring a can or two of food!!