Selkirk Sport - We Are Pickleball


Selkirk Advocate passionate about feeding those in need

By Brynn Grissom

on Mar 15, 2024

Selkirk Advocate Jonathan Stone (right) lines up with his friends and pickleball teammates. They each hold up their pickleball paddles and gold medals.

Throughout the pandemic, an unexpected wave of enthusiasm for pickleball swept across many communities.  

And although Selkirk Advocate Jonathan Stone picked up the game during COVID-19, he also grew his passion for feeding those in need. 

Amid the global health crisis, the Las Vegas resident observed a striking issue in his city — the vast amounts of food intended for casino visitors who had to cancel vacations due to travel bans, were at risk of being wasted.

With contributions from various companies and the help of volunteers in San Diego, Stone transformed shipping containers into solar-powered refrigeration units. This sustainable solution enabled the volunteers to preserve and then distribute the otherwise wasted food to nonprofit organizations focused on feeding hungry children and communities. 

Storage units are lined up with solar panels on the roof. Inside each storage unit is pounds of food to be distributed to those in need.

“We have 13.5 million children that go hungry every day in the United States,” Stone said. “We have the money and the resources, the food just goes to landfills. So, for me, it’s about rerouting that food so it goes to those in need.”  

After seeing the success in Las Vegas, the group was able to replicate the efforts across the United States, including in Georgia, Southern California, Ohio, and New York. Their efforts led to the recovery and donation of 40 million pounds of food throughout the pandemic.

His work during the pandemic is part of a broader mission Stone has pursued over recent years, collaborating with large organizations and leveraging community involvement to feed the hungry.

Notable initiatives include partnerships with the San Diego Padres to feed active military members and transforming the Marconi Automotive Museum into a kitchen for preparing meals for delivery to those in need. 

Stone emphasizes the importance of community engagement in his projects, often involving children in preparing meals for their peers to foster fellowship and a spirit of giving.

“It teaches them about empathy and the importance of not bullying,” Stone says. “It’s about showing people hope and the importance of helping others. You can make a difference with just one simple act of kindness.”  

Stone believes that every act of kindness can make a significant difference and emphasizes the importance of seeking and accepting help in these endeavors. His love for pickleball plays a unique role in his philanthropic efforts, offering a platform to network and connect with individuals who can support his mission. 

“I think in some sense, it’s become like a new golf,” he says. “People used to network on the golf course, but more and more, you see people with high wealth or connections on the pickleball court. You’re out there, having a good time, and you can talk about how you can work together to create change.” 

Stone has traveled across the country speaking on barriers to food and setting up ways to feed those in need. His speaking engagements have placed him in front of many key stakeholders, including major corporations and the United Nations. 

In each experience, it’s important for him to teach those in the area how to keep the system sustainable long-term. 

“It’s all about learning how you can motivate people to want to help each other,” Stone says. “It’s important to get people to work together to truly create change.” 

When he’s not working with charities, Stone spends a lot of time at the pickleball courts. He is the captain of three Lifetime Fitness pickleball teams and plays, on average, five days a week.

Jonathan Stone holds up a trophy in Las Vegas. He has a gold medal and is smiling at the camera.

“It’s been encouraging to see people of all ages go out and play. You can be extremely active and you get to meet so many unique people. It really is a sport that brings people together.” 

Looking ahead, Stone aims to merge his passions by introducing pickleball to more schools through donations and youth programs. He sees the sport as a way to bridge communication gaps among young people and families, encouraging face-to-face interaction and shared experiences. 

“Kids don’t communicate anymore, they communicate through their phone. This is a sport where kids can connect, and parents can play with their kids as equals,” Stone says. “It truly can bring families together to have some competition and share some laughter.” 

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