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Wrote about some important trading cards from my life over on my personal blog…check it out!
Love, Peace and Sharkyness
As a kid, I was into two things- trading cards and video games.
As an adult, I’m into two things- trading cards and video games.
Some of us never grow up and we find a way to take what we loved as kids and continue to love and cherish them as adults- you don’t have to leave those things behind and that is even more clear these days- being nerdy is cool.
It was NOT cool when I was a kid…but I continued being who I was.
I started Commons4Kids to get trading cards to kids around 2012 and we’ve done just that…however, I want to figure out a way to do more than just that.
We made a donation once, around Christmas time, and we had raised $200 and we donated the cards and the money and the org that we donated too was extremely thankful but the guy who ran it said something that I’ve never forgotten- “the kids love the cards but they can’t eat them, so the money really helps.”
I donate trading cards but is that really “helping”- yes, I know it’s doing something to help but I could do so much more.
I found a cool site called ExtraLive.og – it’s a site where you sign up and then play video games, do contests or 24 hour marathons to raise money for local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and I think that is the direction I want to take C4K.
Yes- we will still donate trading cards…but charities need money as well and what better way to get it (since I’m broke) than to play video games!
I do writing, photography, art and tons of other stuff as “Sharky Hitchens”…that is who I am…but #C4KGaming is my team.
I am just a member of #C4KGaming like I’m just a member of the #C4KFamily. Everything I do is under Sharky Hitchens and I’ll be tagging my gaming stuff with #C4KGaming. You can find me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch all under that name. You can find my little gaming blog HERE!
I know I want to focus more on C4K and charity stuff as well as doing stuff that makes me happy and expand C4K PLUS it gives me a chance to give “shout outs” to folks who send stuff that goes above and beyond “common” so it’s killing an entire family of birds with one stone.
It’s a no-brainer and very little investment on my part- besides my time. I’ve already got all the gaming stuff because I’ve played video games since I was a wee lad so why not go for it.
#C4KGaming is a part of Commons4Kids.org but it’s just another way for me to try to make the world around me a little better by doing the things that I love and, in turn, my MY world better.
Love, Peace and #C4KGaming
Things may slow down just a bit because our middle schooler is now in the HIGH school marching band and they have shows most weekends but I’m hoping that I can line up donations to take with us when we have to travel to different areas so that could be a plus- we’ll just have to see.
I held off on updating the number after our last donation because I had some stuff working but those fell through.
So last weekend we donated 40,000 cards to the Wanda Joy Robinson Foundation which brings our total to 10,640,250 trading cards donated to kids. The donation include some autographed stuff, relics and several complete sets!
I was hoping to set up something this weekend but one we go the itinerary for Saturday, we just won’t have time to make it happen. I’m going to work really hard on setting up donations on practice Saturdays and make this work.
I want to send a big shout out to the guys over at Kidority Kards- they are overwhelmed with donations so they have redirected some of their stuff to us and it’s greatly appreciated!
Another HUGE shout-out to the great folks over at Card N All Gaming in Louisville, KY- thanks to them we have had Pokemon packs to hand out recently and we have a $200 store credit there currently so we should be able to get a ton of unopened stuff for upcoming Christmas donations.
Finally- we have more Pokemon cards on the way from Spectypoo [Webaround Gaming] over on Instagram/Twitter/Twitch so check him out as well!!
Lots of big things going on right now and we are about to hit a really busy time of the year for us- if I step up a bit, we could hit 11 million before 2020!!!
And…of course…huge thanks to everyone in the #C4KFamily for keeping us going strong for 8 years now!
I do see a lot of folks popping up doing what we do and it’s cool- but always remember- no one represents us- if it’s not our OFFICIAL Facebook, Twitter or website- it’s not us.
If you follow us on social media, you will see that I was a lot more active over the weekend and I’m hoping to keep that up. I usually work on cards most days so there is no reason why I can’t post a few pictures of cool stuff I come across in order to keep everything active and “relevant”.
I also enjoy writing- about a little of everything- so I’ve decided to write more about the hobby that I love…and YES…I do love it. Its put me in debt and consumed most of my life but it’s not just a hobby- it’s a form of relaxation and stress relieve for me.
SO- let’s get this out of the way- I do still collect trading cards.
The way it’s been worded in the past is that I donated my entire collection and that is not the case- I donated all of my commons/non-personal collection cards.
I donated those about 8 years ago because there was no market to sell them and I didn’t have time to try- I just wanted them out of my closet. That small project to donate my commons has led to an 8 year journey of donating 10.6 million cards and gives me a permeant way to unload cards I don’t want. I don’t have to ship my cards to donate- I just take them down to C4K headquarters. (AKA- my basement.)
I still buy WAY too many cards but I have a way to handle all the stuff I don’t want to keep- straight into C4K. I still collect ALL Reds- along with Griffey Jr, Bobby Bonilla, Shaq, Steelers players and a lot of non-sports cards but when you buy a box- you get tons of stuff you don’t want for your collection. This allows me to always have new stuff to mix in with the older stuff we get. This also allows me to buy collection from yard sales and flea markets and have a way to unload all the unwanted cardboard.
I do collect some new players as well but there is nothing better than cards from the 80s and 90s and that is a reason I’ve done C4K for so long.
YES- I already have complete sets of most of the stuff that came out in the late 80s and early 90s but I still get that “feeling” when I’m going through a box and see a Chris Sabo 89 Donruss Diamond King or a Barry Larkin 87 Topps rookie- these cards have little to no value and I have them in my collection but that doesn’t keep me from feeling the nostalgia.
For me- this hobby isn’t about making money, it’s about enjoying life and doing something you love.
From time to time- I dip into my collection and sell some of my better cards in order to help support C4K- but, for the most part, it has very little to do about money and EVERYTHING to do with the hobby itself.
Little pieces of carboard brought me so much joy as a kid and seeing those cards still brings me joy- I have probably donated thousands and thousands of 1989 Topps and not a single card has a value of more than $1- if that- but every time I grab a stack and run across a Sabo Topps All Start Rookie or Gregg Jeffries Future Star- all of that happiness comes back. Sure- I have both of those cards in my collection but I get to “re-discover” them all the time….I’m not specifically going to look at them but I’m sorting through cards and BOOM…there they are and you just get that rush- the same rush as opening a pack back in 1989…happy 11 year old me and I love that feeling!
Some people don’t understand what I get out of C4K and “THAT” is what I get. Sure, I love being charitable and seeing kid’s faces or having them thank me but it really is a selfish project- to keep reliving those moments is well worth all the debt.
Thanks for all the support; it’s greatly appreciated.
I’m not really an arrogant, conceited asshole…even though I may come off that way at times.
I’ve screwed up a lot in my life and made my fair share of mistakes but I’ve overcome them- I’ve taken responsibility for them and corrected them and continued to grow to become a better person.
I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of how my life has turned out and the things I do. I do feel like I’m “better” than a lot of other people based on the life I’m living, the decision I make and the way I treat others.
There are bad people out there. There are assholes who are assholes simply for the sake of being assholes. There are people who won’t do anything to help make the world a better place…they won’t even step up to make THEIR world a better place.
We don’t all leave a legacy behind us when we pass away- we may mean the world to a handful of people but we don’t always do huge thanks to really let the world know that we were here- and that is sad. No one should ever be forgotten.
I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to find my legacy- trying to do something big that I could be proud of and say “hey…I’m THAT guy!”
I became an outspoken atheist at 15 years old.
I’ve had articles and stories published in local newspapers and in a couple books.
I’ve worked my ass off to lose weight and try to be “the guy that lost 200 lbs!” (Still in progress…about 140 lbs down currently.)
My grandfather wasn’t there for my dad and my dad has never been there for me- I only had my mom. I’ve made sure that there hasn’t been a single day of my son’s life that I haven’t been there. There will NOT be a single day (until I die) that I’m not there for my son. Period.
I grew up on welfare, food stamps and living in the projects but I’ve worked my ass off to be sure my son doesn’t even know what food stamps are and we’ve been successful at that- that isn’t to say something bad could happen and it could all change but I’m doing my best to make sure he has a better life than I did.
All of those things could be considered my “legacy” but they only affect a small group of people- yesterday, I did something that I think will truly become my legacy- my charity, Commons4Kids, passed 10 million trading cards donated to kids.
Now- I’ve always been very up front- I’m mostly the middle man in this project; 90% of those 10 million cards have come straight from people that I call the #C4KFamily. We get folks mailing us cards from all over the world- literally and I want to give those people credit for actually getting 10 million trading cards into the hands of kids.
With that said- I do the webpage, the promotion, contacting the charities, delivering the cards, sorting and getting the cards ready and make all those loose ends connect. I put my heart and soul into C4K- along with my time, money, tears and even blood. (Cardboard cuts are NO joke….plus, try removing 1,000 cards from those plastic sheets…that plastic is like razor blades!)
I try my best to not take all of the credit because the cards come from the #C4KFamily but….I am the guy responsible for getting over 10 million trading cards to kids…I am THAT guy…that is ME!
That is my legacy.
We’ve worked with so many charities in so many states and even other countries and these cards have gotten into the hands of, literally, thousands of kids. Most of those kids will never know my name or that those cards came from me and that is fine with me…the point is- I still did that. I made that happen and I’ve done it for 8 years now with no end in sight.
We could reach 20 million…50 million…who knows????
If you know me personally, then you know that long before C4K- I did stuff like “Project Sharky Claus” and did toy drives and Hot Wheel drives and donated to charities as much as I could and did everything I could to make the world better than when I found it.
It may not be humble and it may make me sound like an asshole but I want that to be my legacy- I want people to see it and follow in my footsteps. I want people to think “if he can do it, why can’t I?” I want to be remembered as a guy that put everything I had into simply making the world better.
You can have your reasons for hating me. I’m a straight, white, male, Liberal, atheist, science loving, evolution believing guy who’s done my best to be a good son, husband and father and never stopped putting everything I have into the things I believe in.
I wish my mom was still here to see that 10 million mark- she saw 1-9 million and that 10 millionth card is now buried with her (a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr)- she had no doubts we would get there.
Finally- I would like to think my amazing wife for putting up with 8 years of trading cards all over her kitchen, kitchen table, living room, coffee table and even the bedroom. For loading up her van and now Kia Soul with thousands of cards and delivering them as far as St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
While none of this could have happened without the #C4KFamily- NONE of it could have happened without her support, time and money.
I’m still blown away by what we’ve done over the last 8 years and I can no longer even imagine where we could be 8 years from now. This project started out with me wanting to donate MY commons, then C4K was created with a goal of donating 1 million cards to kids and now we just passed the 10 million cards donated mark and that doesn’t count all the other stuff- from Legos, to figures, DVDs, video games, stuffed animals, thousands of comic books, autograph bats, jerseys and all the amazing stuff you guys just throw into boxes and mail us- nothing surprises me anymore.
One finally thanks to EVERYONE in the #C4KFamily- if you’ve donated, shared our social media, talked about us, accepted a donation or just liked a post- I consider you family- please share this “legacy” with me as being a part of something really cool.
Thanks for all the support, it’s greatly appreciated and I look forward to being the middle man for the next 10 million cards!
Jerry W. Milburn, II
AKA Sharky Hitchens
OK guys…finally getting around to adding the 50,000 we took a couple weekends ago to Family and Children’s Place and Kids Cancer Alliance on May 10th!
This brings our total to 9,958,133!!!
I have been trying to slow down a bit to match up our 10 millionth donation with my big “event” on July 20th- the one year anniversary of my mom passing away and my first roller coaster- thanks to a lot of weight lost…however, that isn’t going to be able to happen.
We contacted Ronald McDonald House back on May 10th but they responded too late so we already set up two other donations so we put them on the list for our next donation- I plan to take them 41,866 cards sometime later this week…that will put us at 9,999,999.
Back in July 2018, I already had a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr card ready to go as our 10 millionth card and then my mom passed away on July 20th, 2018- If you have read the story about that card on our official webpage- then you know the history.
C4K was, sort of, based on the childhood feelings I got from that card and my mom got one for me in 1989 and my specific card has a long history and is now framed in my house- dirty, bent, creased and priceless.
My mom was really sick for a long time but when we hit our first million- she made it a point to go with us to deliver it- oxygen tank and all and she got to see the kids faces light up (Sunrise Children’s Home)- not because we gave them trading cards but because we knew they existed.
It’s not about trading cards- it’s about the kids.
However, on July 20th, 2018- I felt like it was about my mom. That 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr card that would have been number 10 million was buried in the casket with her.
Later this week, I’m going to drop off the cards to Ronald McDonald House in Lexington Kentucky and that will, technically, put us at 10 million trading cards donated to kids (1 being buried with my mom.)
This doesn’t count all of the comic books, figures, toys, Legos, Pop figures, stuffed animals, baseballs and everything else you guys have sent us over the 8 years or so.
I can NOT thank the #C4KFamily enough for getting us to this point- when I first started, the main goal was to donate 1 million trading cards and it only took about a year to do that…now, 8 years later, we are passing the 10 million mark with no end or even slowdown in sight.
I’m using this as a small PAUSE- hitting 9,999,999….then remembering my mom, my childhood, that card and what it means to me…and then working on hitting 10,000,001 and beyond.
Huge thanks to everyone who has ever donated or accepted a donation- to the folks that have bought cards (from my personal collection) to help me fund this thing for so long- all the charities that have worked with us, all the people that have liked, shared and followed us and supported this project for so long…10 million trading cards have reached the hands of kids thanks to YOU guys…the #C4KFamily!!
It doesn’t stop here- I have ton of Pokemon cards to hand out this summer, working on future donations and will hopefully set up at a huge comic-con thing in November and be able to do things we’ve never done before.
I guess…after this week/weekend…we’ll be counting down to 15 million!
Thanks again for everything!
I plan to work on our “FAQs” section that has been “coming soon” for about a year and it will include the questions I get the most, along with some of our policies (which WILL include changes)- I’ll post the link to social media once I get it completed.
We are currently 166,867 cards away from hitting the #10Million mark and we have that in stock right now. We have enough cards setting in our garage to pass the 10 million mark but it’s getting harder and harder to find homes for them but I’m still trying and we will get there.
If I time everything right- I plan to hit that mark on July 20th.
If you follow me on SharkyHitchens then you know July 20th is a pretty big day for me- my mom passed away on that date last year so I’ve decided to start celebrating life on that day- from this point forward.
This year, July 20th is going to be a celebration at Kings Island and I’m going to ride my first roller coaster ever. I’m down 140 lbs and I hope to hit my overall goal of 200 lbs lost by that date as well.
July 20th, 2019 will be one year since my mom passed away, my first roller coaster ride, hopefully I’ll be 200 lbs smaller than I was, I plan to get a new tattoo and we’ll be donating our 10 millionth card.
That isn’t all factual though- I had a gorgeous- PERFECT- 1989 Upper Deck Griffey Jr Star Rookie- (which we donate as our “millionth” card every time we hit another one)- set aside to be the 10 millionth card but I no longer have it.
My mom (and that card) was a huge inspiration for Commons4Kids and the full story is on our website- she also greatly supported it and was there when we hit our first 1 million- oxygen tank and all.
The actual 10 millionth card was buried with her- while it didn’t go to a kid, I felt it needed to be that way. I thought of putting the “actual” card from my childhood- the dirty, creased, destroyed (and framed) one but I thought this a better way to do it. The actual card is framed in my C4K area and will be burned, with me, when I die.
On July 20th, 2019- we’ll donate the final cards that get us to 9,999,999 and the next donation will start us out at 10,000,001.
So- that is just a quick update of where we are and where we are going.
Hey #C4Kfamily…remember me??? Fat guy, throws cardboard at un-expecting children??
I know..been awhile. The last time I updated our number as back on February 3rd and then we donated 50,000 to Crayons 2 Computers on February 16th but I didn’t update the number and then just sort of fell off the planet.
Well…in all honesty, I needed a break- been doing this almost 8 years now and I needed to focus on some stuff.
I’ve been updating my personal site- SharkysWorld.com tons- adding weight loss updates, recipes and whatever else I can think of. I hit 299 lbs back on March 2nd (total loss of 140.6 lbs) and then celebrated my 41st birthday on March 3rd by getting pretty sick and being “out” for about a week.
Recently I added a big section to SharkysWorld.com called “Sharketo 101”- it’s basically the blue print of how I lost the weight and how I plan to continue to lose the last 59 lbs and it’s a way to help those interested in losing weight and getting healthy.
I’ve also been focused on making YouTube videos, streaming video games on Wednesday night and growing my SharkyHitchens empire.
NOW though…it’s back to the real work- hitting that 10 million cards donated!!!
With the 50,000 from C2C added, we are at 9,708,133 trading cards donated to kids. This does NOT include all the comic books, toys, Legos, Starting Lineup, bats, jerseys or anything else…just trading cards.
I currently have about 100,000-150,000 boxed up and ready for new homes.
I am incorporating C4K into what I’m doing with other stuff more – including promoting it on YouTube and my Twitch streams and I’m trying to build something that changes the world for the better from donating trading cards to helping people get healthy to showing old folks like me that it’s never too late to make positive changes or enjoy doing what you love- even if you are really bad at it.
In closing- feel free to check out SharkysWorld.com and follow/like me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under SharkyHitchens.
I don’t plan to take anymore time off from C4K- plan to hit the ground running and getting everything I have ready donated and hitting that 10 million sometime this Spring/Summer.
Thanks or all the support on everything!!!
Love, Peace and Sharkyness
I didn’t want to write this but based on some emails/messages I’ve gotten, I feel I need to clear up some things.
I have been running C4K since 2012 and over the years, a few other groups have popped up doing the same thing or something similar.
The ONLY way to contact us is through our social media sites that are officially “Commons4Kids”- our website- Commons4Kids.org or through email- firstname.lastname@example.org.
I run everything MYSELF so that I can ensure 100% of the cards get to kids- there is no one else or any other group that represents C4K.
I mean no disrespect to anyone trying to get cards to kids as well, however, I’ve seen sites that ask for cards to be donated and then turn around and sell them…or sell mystery packs or something. We do not and will not sell ANY cards we received unless they are adult oriented (Playboy, etc.) and that money goes to buy more kid friendly cards.
We get autographs/jersey cards all the time and will never try to sell “hot packs” or anything like that to “cover shipping”- that isn’t how we work.
Not only do we not charge for ANY cards we donate, putting up packs for sale “to kids” allows collectors and adults tp buy those cards and doesn’t ensure they actually go to kids. We either donated cards directly to the kids or agencies that work with kids to ensure they get where we say they will go. We have had people try to buy the cards we feature on our site/social media and that will NEVER happen. Period.
If you find a site/person/group that is charging for “donated” cards- they are not affiliated with us. They may be great people and on the “up and up” but they are not associated with C4K- again, no disrespect, just some confusion out there with some folks doing what we are doing.
If we get a card with a value of $200…it will go to a kid- FREE of charge…no catches.
We have done this since 2012 and most of the material is bought out of my pocket, most of the gas or hotel room stays from delivering cards has come from my pocket. We have had a few people over the last 7 years give us some cash to help out with gas or something but we don’t make a habit of that. I do a “GoFundMe” from time to time if I have a project that I would like to do like Christmas presents, etc that I can’t personally afford to do on my own.
If we have agencies that want cards, in other states that we can’t personally deliver too, I’ve started doing a “sponsor” project so that people pay the exact shipping and I promote them or their business- there is no “extra dollar here or there” for us to make a profit. All shipping receipts are them emailed to the sponsor.
So- in closing- there are several other groups out there helping to get cards to kids and they may be amazing people but they are not associated with C4K- we will NEVER charge kids or agencies for the cards we get donated to us. We are trying to get cards into the hands of kids who can’t afford to buy them or pay for shipping, etc.
If you have any thoughts, opinions or questions- the best way to reach us is a DM on our Facebook page…you are welcome to email but I’m not the best at getting back to emails in a timely manner so just throw me a message on the Commons4Kids Facebook and I’ll get with you. If you have followed us for long, you know we are very transparent in what we do and post all donations and post info on the agencies we donated too in case anyone wants to check in on us.
Thank you so much for supporting us over the last 7 years and we are getting closer and closer to that 10 million mark and it’s because of the #C4KFamily.
(Side Note- we do have a “relationship” with the great folks over at Signatures for Soldiers- they have a different mission than we do and have even donated a ton of cards to us- I can/will speak for them- they are amazing.)
We don’t pay for advertising, so all of our growth has come straight from the #C4KFamily- through word of mouth, sharing our social media and folks just talking about us…but how can that work so well for a guy asking you to send him free stuff?
There are tons of us folks in our 30s/40s that had a plan as a child- invest all of our allowance into trading cards and 3 decades later- sell them to be millionaires- very simple really. I mean, some Mickey Mantle cards from the 50’s were were thousands in the 80s/90s…so these 1987 Topps should be worth a ton around 2017.
Are you done laughing…no…OK…I’ll wait.
Done? OK good. Yea, we now know that the folks like Topps, Fleer and Donruss understood that kids thought that so they mass produced the crap out of them and now so many of us are left with cards that are literally worthless. Almost everything has a “worth” but most cards from the 80s and 90s have no worth- I mean- nothing.
Now, if you are a collector like me- those cards represent your childhood and hold value to you- sure, you can’t sell them but most of us don’t want to just trash them- just the thought is heart breaking.
While I talk about the 1989 Upper Deck Griffey Jr card are a lot of cards that still hit me right in the feels.
I was a huge Bobby Bonilla fan (and still am) back in 1989 and I can still remember pulling a fresh Bonilla DK from a Donruss pack or a Chris Sabo All Star Rookie from a pack of Topps. Let’s not even talk about that Dream Team set that Kmart had! My cousin and I would set for hours and make our own Dream Team for hours.
After going through almost 10 million cards over the last 8 years, I still pause when I see some of those cards and get that same feeling- they are amazing!
Now- add in all the “new” guys who buy cards in bulk and don’t want 100 of the same common card and with the ease of getting the exact card you want, there isn’t much of a market for bulk cards that no one wants. Then you throw in the awesome guys from the gaming community who don’t want 15 copies of an unplayable Pikachu.
Not only is there millions of cards out there that no one really wants- the companies keep making cards that no one really wants but people buy just to try their luck to get those few cards that everyone does want…and all that leaves millions of cards looking for homes and that is where we come in.
There are SO many kids out there that just don’t understand trading cards or just can’t afford them or kids that want to learn Magic or Pokemon but don’t really know where to start.
C4K works because I continue to buy cards to get a few I want and end up with hundreds that I don’t want…and then you multiple that by the thousands of others like me out there. C4K works because of the people that no longer collect but can’t just trash their childhood treasures. C4K works because of the amazing folks that send us NEW stuff and stuff that isn’t considered “common” in order to get the “cool stuff” to kids who may not be able to get it themselves.
C4K works because of the #C4KFamily…I mean, sure, I would have been doing this on my own and we would probably be at about 500,000 cards donated by me…but you folks stepped up and supported C4K and we are looking at hitting 10 million next year…
…I honestly can’t say it enough- this ALL works because of YOU guys. Every card, share, follow, like or just sharing us with someone else.
So, I try to say it a lot but a HUGE thanks to all of you for making all of this work.