A father-son project out of London, Ont., in support of the son’s long-term needs has seen an “unbelievable” increase in demand in just one week, thanks to social media and community generosity.
Jason Smith of London, Ont., says he and his son Jakob have gone from making roughly 30 Canadian flags made of hockey sticks to having nearly 500 requests at once.
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The hobby started about four years ago with flags made for friends and family.
Recently, Smith says an old friend from public school that he hadn’t seen in 40 years called “out of the blue” to request one.
“And I said, ‘That would be great, I’d love to make you one. (But) we have no sticks. COVID‘s kind of shut things down with my hockey stick supply,’” he says.
“She says, ‘Well, let me let me put a post on my social media and see where it goes.’”
Smith says his phone started “blowing up” and he went from having three hockey sticks last week to roughly 1,000 in his garage now as well as a long list of orders to fill.
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“The response has been unbelievable. I can’t even put words to it,” he told Global News.
“Snipe Academy is accepting drop-offs and I just got a picture of their side of their building from (Sunday) and I couldn’t even tell you how many are sitting there. And that’s just local. There’s responses from Toronto, from Ottawa, Canada-wide, Calgary.”
Smith says it takes about five or six hours to put one flag together but the entire process can take five or six days, though he admits he hasn’t streamlined it as he’s never before needed to.
“At the end of the day, it’s still just a father-son project, that we get to spend time together. But we’re going to be spending a lot more time together trying to fill all these orders. I’m not kidding, between 400 and 500 people have requested a flag.”
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While the project allows the two to spend time together and create, it also helps support Jakob’s long-term needs.
“With special needs kids, you got to worry about what their future looks like, you know, 20 years after you’re long gone,” says Smith.
“The sales of this goes into a fund for him to cover whatever costs might be. We won’t know what he’ll need it for, but it’ll be there.”
Smith is also working on a special project in support of SARI, a therapeutic riding organization, after receiving a dozen game sticks from the Montreal Canadiens through a “local connection.”
“Here I am sitting with a dozen game sticks from the Canadiens and we’re running a saw through them — $500 sticks. The saw cuts through those pretty good,” he laughed.
“So what we’re doing with that, it’s going to be a special edition. Jake, he’s also involved with SARI, which is therapeutic riding out in Medway Road, and they do a number of auctions throughout the year. So this one is going to them for one of their big auctions.”
As of Sunday, Smith has stopped taking orders due to overwhelming demand.
In a Facebook post on the Hockey Stick Flags page — which was only created April 23 — he says there’s no wait-list, but he’ll post again once he and Jakob are able to take on more orders.
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