Gaming meets giving at Albany Med charity hosted by Habitat for Humanity this weekend

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extra life marathon

Joined by Gaming’s 5th annual Extra Life charity fundraiser for Albany Medical Center.

FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Southern Adirondack ReStore makes their business in giving new life to secondhand furniture, clothing and whatever else you can think of. This weekend, they’ll be doing that, but will also be home to a different method of giving back; one that just needs some cameras, microphones, and maybe a Nintendo 64 or two.

The Habitat for Humanity-owned center is host this weekend to a 24-hour marathon, streaming video games and tabletop games to raise money in support of the children’s wing at Albany Medical Center. The pairing of games and secondhand goods may seem strange, but organizer Tori Trombley-Cordialle says they fit like a glove.

“Once the store hours end, I basically have the run of the place,” she said.

Trombley-Cordialle and her husband Aaron are in their fifth year of running a charity stream during the month of November as part of Extra Life, an international movement where video game streamers go live for 24-hour marathons during the month of November, all while asking for donations to children’s hospitals of their choice. This Saturday is Game Day, marking the weekend when the majority of streamers put on a show for a cause.

As of last year, the movement raised a total of over $87 million since its inception in 2008, and has been a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals charity since 2010. This weekend, Tori and Aaron run their own slice of that effort as Joined by Gaming, an organization they’ve run the streams under for the last five years. Their goal at the Fort Edward ReStore is to raise $7,500 by the end of the weekend.

The good news: They’re already at $6,200. Joined by Gaming fundraises year-round leading up to Extra Life. In a normal year, that fundraising comes through community gaming events at places like Common Roots Brewing Company in South Glens Falls and Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs.

COVID-19 has kept those other events dormant, but that all changes during Extra Life. ReStore is open for business during the day, but once business hours end, visitors are invited to come to play retro games, board and tabletop games, and socialize from 6 p.m. Saturday into the following morning.

“I’m particularly excited for the make-your-own Dungeons & Dragons character class on the schedule,” Tori said. “I think that’s a great starting point for people.”

Starting points are important. The goal is to make anyone feel welcome during visitor hours, whether you’re an avid gamer or have never touched a controller or played a tabletop campaign in your life. The ReStore building allows enough space to keep safely socially distanced, giving people concession spaces to take their masks off to eat and drink. The size also accommodates people who might want to come and play, but don’t want to be on-camera during the stream.

Welcoming the community ties right back to how Joined by Gaming came to be, which started with an early experience Tori had at a comic convention.

“I felt very out of place,” she said, “but then I met some people who were wonderful, and who really made me feel like I was part of the hobby. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t like to play first-person shooter games, or you don’t like tabletop games, you’re still welcome.”

Giving others that same feeling has been the goal for Joined by Gaming throughout their five years of Extra Life streams. After a disruptive couple of years thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Tori hopes to keep that mission intact; as long as the community shows up.

“I don’t know what sort of crowd to expect,” she said. “We might have a crowd, we might have three people. It’s the most unsure I’ve ever been, but we have a great community, great donors, and we’re hoping to reach that goal by the end of the weekend.”

Getting the ReStore connection was easy for Tori, who does with Habitat for Humanity, the group that runs the facility. Once she pitched the 24-hour fundraiser, Habitat was happy to play host.

“They’re even really glad we’re streaming it,” Trombley-Cordialle said, “because they can just check in on us at any point.”

The 24-hour stream starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, and the whole thing can be watched online at Joined by Gaming’s Twitch channel. For those who want to be a firsthand part of the fundraising and fun, community hours start at 6 p.m. at the Fort Edward ReStore. A full schedule of events will be shared on the event Facebook page, so nobody misses the games that fit them best.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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