NORTH SMITHFIELD – A family known for helping others in the community is now facing hardship of their own, and friends have organized fundraising events offering locals ways to do their part to give back.
Jake Reyes, son of William and Catherine Reyes, shattered his leg in a tragic ATV accident on New Year’s Eve. The 15 year old, a North Smithfield High School sophomore, is a talented athlete playing sports including soccer and basketball.
Parents Catherine and William are well known in the community and active members in organizations such as the North Smithfield Athletic Association and Kenny’s Coalition, a nonprofit specializing in event planning and fundraising for people with medical needs. Catherine was one the creative minds behind The Pumpkin People of North Smithfield, a contest aimed at spreading good cheer amid the pandemic, as well as Light Up North Smithfield.
The couple takes part in charitable missions to Guatemala, holding events to raise money for others in need.
And those are just a few of the things the Reyes have been known for over the years.
“When I ran Northmen Hoops, Catherine and William were active year round in helping us fundraise as well as coach,” said friend Anthony Soly. “Catherine, the mom has her hands in everything. The family is just really awesome community members.”
Soly recently launched a breakfast-focused food truck business, Sunnyside on the Street, and on Sunday, Jan. 10, he held a fundraiser through the business to help the family with ongoing medical expenses.
“The Reyes family are amazing people that have donated, volunteered, and helped the North Smithfield community in many ways from fundraisers, to academics, to clean up, and youth athletics,” noted a post on the event.
Jake has had five surgeries in the short time since the accident, and is now preparing for his sixth. His extended stay at Hasbro Children’s Hospital has included a stint in the ICU and he must still undergo physical therapy.
Soly’s “French Toast Stick Fundraiser” on Sunday, Jan. 10 saw 50 percent of all sales – and 100 percent of all tips – donated to the family. The event reportedly raised nearly $1,500 – including $800 just in tips.
“This is a great community we live in,” Soly said in a video post following the event. “Jake, we’ll see you soon.”
For those who missed the event, a fundraiser for the family has also been launched on GoFundMe by Kristhian Reyes.