Hickory resident Jacinto Saenz Jr. has been playing video games since he was a child. Now, he uses his skill to help others.
“My older brothers introduced me to the original Nintendo and Super Nintendo,” he said of his time growing up in New Jersey.
“I started experimenting with online streaming once I moved to Hickory towards the end of 2017,” Saenz explained. “I always had a passion for gaming, and my open personality made me comfortable broadcasting my image to strangers.”
Streaming refers to content delivered to computers and mobile devices using the internet and played back in real time. Examples of streaming include podcasts, movies, TV shows and gaming.
Now, Saenz streams between 55 to 60 hours per week. This summer he has been raising money to benefit local charities, such as the Hickory Soup Kitchen.
“As a full-time streamer, people send donations to support me,” he explained. “At the beginning of the year, I told myself I would help out as many people as I could. I decided to use most, if not all, of my income from streaming to support those in need.”
Saenz discussed his work in streaming and raising money for local charities. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
On his idea to raise money by streaming:
Since before my streaming took off, I’ve always wanted to help people. Even when I myself didn’t have much, I would do whatever I can to help someone else in need. I always had an idea where if we can all work together, we can achieve great things. About five years ago, I tried bringing people together to help those in need. It didn’t work out as I thought it would, so I gave up. At the beginning of this year when I felt like I had everything I needed in life, I decided to rebirth my old ideas. I then used my platform and the position I was in to bring those ideas to life.
On his work with the Hickory Soup Kitchen:
After doing some volunteer work with the Hickory Soup Kitchen and seeing how caring and loving the staff was, I knew it would be a great organization to work with. Roughly, I make between $1,500-$2,000 monthly from streaming, which is what I put towards the Hickory Soup Kitchen. Every month they give me a list of things they need, and I go out and buy and deliver the items. Examples of the items include canned goods, frozen foods, packaged foods, boxes of snacks, boxes of chips, desserts, meats, paper goods, plastic goods and even cleaning supplies.
On his plans for future donations:
We have agreed to help the Hickory Soup Kitchen on a month-to-month basis. We gained Stellar Motor Sports, a used car dealership in Conover, as a sponsor to help us transport the goods. They supplied us with two trucks off their lot to help us pick up and deliver the goods! We have plans to help rescue groups, schools and small businesses here in Hickory, too. We are currently in the process of working with an animal shelter and are also trying to work with Snow Creek Elementary to supply them with school supplies when the school year starts.