A queen dressed in an icy blue dress and wielding a pickaxe drops from the sky and lands in a Slurp factory. She scoops up a gun laying on the building’s roof and opens fire on an enemy attempting to sneak up on her from the smoke stacks above. The enemy, named TacoMasterIA, is drained of health before he even touches the ground.
It’s the queen’s first confirmed kill of the night, and well over her hundredth for the week. And she’s doing it for the children.
The “queen” is actually an avatar controlled by Oxford Circle resident Alex Benabe, better known as Destroy_215 to his 130,000-plus followers. The 19-year-old Fortnite streamer last week used his platform to raise money for Toys for Tots Philadelphia, meeting his goal of raising $5,000 to spend on donated toys.
“We’re trying to create a buzz in the community and show people can do this in any community,” Benabe said. “All of these streamers can find a local organization and do something nice for it.”
Benabe put his money where his mouth is on Saturday when he took the donated $5,000 on a toy shopping spree at Five Below. He and his family filled 20 shopping carts with toys that were donated to Toys for Tots at Sunday’s tree-lighting ceremony at Frankford and Cottman avenues.
Marine Toys for Tots kicked off its Philadelphia campaign in October to distribute toys to families in need in Philadelphia County and Bristol Township. Last year 32,723 toys were distributed to 30,833 children through the Philadelphia program.
“Christmastime is coming around and a lot of kids aren’t in the position to have toys. I’m trying to be part of the reason they have a good Christmas,” said Benabe. He was also inspired to donate to Toys for Tots by his brother being in the armed services.
For seven consecutive nights Benabe streamed the battle royale game in which 100 players enter a virtual arena and fight to be the last left standing. He gave his audience incremental incentives for donating such as putting on makeup or having his father, Manny, take shots of hot sauce on stream. The fundraiser hit the ground running with a surprise $1,000 donation from an anonymous source just hours into the first stream.
“It’s for the children,” Benabe encouraged his streamers all week. That large donation was mirrored by $500 on the final night.
Benabe has amassed an army of 136,000 followers on video game streaming platform Twitch as well as 24,800 YouTube followers, 32,200 Twitter followers and 14,300 on Instagram. He’s signed onto global e-sports organization Luminosity.
“Before you had to go to school then college, but the way social media is growing now, there’s so much opportunity for money on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube so you don’t need to go to school if you get that opportunity to blow up on a platform,” Benabe said.