Kangs turned a team volunteer experience at HopeLink into an inaugural charity event for the organization that aims to end poverty in King County.

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There are playoff implications when Lake Washington hosts KingCo rival Mercer Island in a baseball matchup Friday at Lee Johnson Field in downtown Kirkland. But overriding the game will be a food drive initiated by the Kangs to benefit HopeLink, a nonprofit organization that assists families in need of services ranging from food and transportation to housing and education.

“Our team had the opportunity to volunteer at HopeLink over winter break, and our kids really got a lot out of it,” Lake Washington coach Derek Bingham wrote in an email. “I have a friend who works for HopeLink and we thought that with the anticipated big crowd for Friday night, why not try and take advantage of that opportunity to do something great for the community.”

Lake Washington (12-6, 8-4 KingCo) is the defending Class 3A state baseball champion while Mercer Island (13-2, 11-2) won the title in 2015. The Islanders, with their lineup of strong hitters, has the edge in Friday’s game as the frontrunner in league standings and No. 2 spot in this week’s Class 3A state rankings.

A rare sunny day is expected Friday, the game starting at 7 p.m. It’s also the last home matchup for Lake Washington’s senior class. A ceremony to honor those players is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m.

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For the food drive, Bingham requests that cash donations not be offered. According to the HopeLink website, the most needed foods are:

  • Canned Meals
  • Canned Meat (Tuna, Chicken, etc)
  • Cereal/Oats
  • Beans (Dry or Canned)
  • Fruit (Canned, Fresh or Frozen)
  • Grains (Pasta, Rice, Quinoa, Barley, etc)
  • Nut Butters (Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, etc)
  • Soup and Broth
  • Vegetables (Canned, Fresh or Frozen)