11-Year-Old Son of Frontline Worker Uses Love of Baseball to Help Feed the Hungry

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The Siriano family has a saying they repeat often to each other: don’t say you can’t because you won’t, say you can because you will. These challenging times have made that mantra even more important.

“Unfortunately I came down sick, really sick,” said Jonathan Siriano, a clinical systems engineer at Yale New Haven Health.

While working on the front lines, an exposure to COVID-19 threatened Siriano’s life.

“I spent about eight or nine days in bed unable to move,” said Siriano. “I was extremely sick, [it was] rather scary to tell you the truth.”

Seeing the affect the coronavirus had on his dad and the entire world, Jonathan’s son Dylan was inspired to take action.

“I saw people on the news that were lining up to get food,” said Dylan. “So I decided ‘hey dad, can I get some money every time I hit 1,000 hits in my batting cage?’”

Dylan loves baseball and with his season cancelled, this was the perfect way to give back and it didn’t take long for the community to get behind his efforts.

“I printed out flyers and put them in people’s mailboxes and I also texted and called everyone on my parent’s cell phones,” said Dylan.

Even while Jonathan was recovering, he threw every pitch to Dylan. He totaled 5300 swings in 20 days. It wasn’t easy, but Dylan knew it was nothing compared to what others were going through.

“I knew there were people in my community that were hurting worse than me so that kept me going,” said Dylan.

He called the fundraiser 5K for May: Hits for Hunger and it was a huge success. Dylan delivered canned goods, gift cards and checks to the Newington Food Bank. A father and son fighting to make sure we all come out stronger on the other side.

“If you say you can’t, you won’t. If you say you will you can,” said Jonathan. “To have Dylan say those same words to me, it clicked in my heart. It was very emotional and it really lit a fire under me for my recovery process.”

“If everyone can just give a little bit during these times, it will go a long way for the people who need it now,” added Dylan.

Jonathan is fully recovered and back at work at Yale New Haven Health.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Jonathan. “If we all stay positive, we’re going to make it through this. Things are getting better.”

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