Nerd Nation Magazine recently sat down with Andrew Jenkins, Founder of HeartMeter, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based 501(c)3 Non-Profit Charity Organization that donates video games and video game consoles to various children’s hospitals.
Touched by his story, and wanting to help spread the word of such fantastic work, our own Dave Harlequin conducted this personal interview with the man himself.
Here’s what he had to say…
Nerd Nation: How did you first come up with the idea for HeartMeter?
Andrew Jenkins (HeartMeter):“The idea came about last February. There was an article in our local paper about a young man named Chris that’s battling hodgkin’s lymphoma for the third time. He’s really big into video games and was asking people to mail in unused games so he could have new ones to play at the hospital while he’s receiving treatment. That was my ‘light bulb’ moment that I can do this.”
NN: When was your charity officially founded?
AJ:“I officially launched on July 14th of last year, three days before my 30th birthday, and made my first delivery of a Nintendo Wii and 28 games on July 27th. It’s been a sprint ever since.”
NN: Where/how do you get all the video games you donate?
AJ:“Two ways – either accept monetary donations through our website or one of our events, or people can mail in old games they’re not using any more. I have a partnership with a really awesome game store called ‘Save Point’ here in Charlotte where I trade in old or ‘Mature’ titles (I don’t donate anything rated over Teen) for credit on new games.”
NN: How many children’s hospitals have you donated to thus far?
AJ:“As of May I’ve made 10 deliveries with a total of 139 games and 9 game systems. I’ve also branched out to other facilities like our local Ronald McDonald House and Safe Alliance, which is a safe home for women & children trying to escape dangerous domestic violence situations.”
NN: This seems like quite a large operation. How many people are involved?
AJ:“Just me. I also work full time too, so obviously I’m not able to dedicate as much time to it as I would like. I have some really amazing advisors that offer advice or just encouragement when I’m feeling burned out. The community here has really wrapped me in their arms, I couldn’t have done any of this without them.”
NN: Do you accept donations? How can people help out?
AJ:“Yep – go to www.HeartMeter.org. From there you can place a monetary donation. My address is there if anyone wants to send in any games they’re not using anymore, as well as links to the social media accounts. I see every post and share and appreciate any help getting the word out.”
NN: Finally, what does the future hold for you? What is your ultimate goal with HeartMeter?
AJ:“In a perfect world I’d love be delivering copies of a future NBA 2K game with my Charlotte Hornets on the cover having just won a championship, but I think we have a way to go… Realistically, I’d love to have a HeartMeter game room in every North Carolina children’s hospital and facility, full of all the newest games and systems then scale out from there. Really I just want to do everything I can to help kids in tough situations have fun and be kids again.”
For more information, including links to donate cash or video games to help out children in need, please visit www.HeartMeter.org.
Editor: Nerd Nation Magazine