Lauren Castro was born and raised in Gilroy, and like many Gilroyans, was devastated when she learned of the shooting at last year’s Garlic Festival. She thought raising funds to go to the victims would be a nice way of showing support and giving back to a community that she will always consider home. And that’s exactly what she did.
On Feb. 19, Castro and the Canisius College softball team were at Christmas Hill Park handed over a check to representatives of the Gilroy Foundation to go to the fund for the victims of the shooting.
“I think the least I could do was raise money for a good cause, and have my teammates help me with it,” said Castro, a 2015 Gilroy High graduate and a senior pitcher/utility player for Canisius, which is a Division I program in Buffalo, N.Y. “The shooting hit everyone really hard, so to be able to benefit my hometown in any way is something that is really important to me.”
Castro and her teammates were able to raise $1,065 by selling Tie-Dye T-shirts during a Canisius men’s basketball home game on Jan. 17. They set up a booth at the game and received a lot of foot traffic, and by the end of the night had sold close to 100 T-shirts and received generous donations.
“The whole softball team would pick out shirts, and we’d bring it and put colors on the shirt for whatever people wanted on their shirt,” Castro said. “We’d dye them up and give it out to them, and there were instructions so they could go home, wash it and dye it up again.”
Castro was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude from the outpouring of generosity from people who either bought a T-shirt or donated via Venmo. Castro and one of her teammates were actually at the Garlic Festival just hours before the shooting occurred. Castro now considers Buffalo her second home, and the fact that her two worlds merged together is something she’ll never forget. Her teammates were equal drivers in this fundraising effort.
“It’s been really fun being back in my hometown to play some games,” she said. Canisius was in the area in mid-February to play a three-game set at San Jose State. “It’s a really nice feeling having my two worlds together in one place. I’ve had a nice experience at Canisius, which makes this all the more rewarding.”