Joe Pimentel has the can-do spirit and that’s really not up for debate.
“We’ve got close to 300 cans,” Pimentel said. “We’re shooting for between 600 and 800.”
Pimentel’s aim is true as he goes here, there and everywhere collecting cans of food for those in need. For more than 12 holiday seasons, Pimentel, a Vista resident, has rounded up nonperishable goods because his memory tells him to.
“My mom raised three boys in Carlsbad by herself,” Pimentel said. “We always had enough to eat, I guess, but a lot of times there was not a ton of food on the table. She did the best that she could.”
Which drives Pimentel to follow suit and what’s wrong with falling in line behind this gentleman?
“He’s like one of the best guys that I know,” Tammie Sharp said. “He has the biggest heart and he never stops giving.”
Even when he’s taking on fresh faces, like Sharp, who’s associated with the Encinitas Little League Junior program. Or Daryl Wasano of the La Costa 35 Athletic Club or the Carlsbad senior softball league that plays during the week at Stagecoach Park.
They all got wind of Pimentel’s endeavor and are pitching in, with it having nothing to do with taking the mound.
Their assistance complements the bounty he gathers from his city of Carlsbad co-workers. At the city employees’ annual holiday breakfast many of his colleagues bring a can of food or a gift card from a super market.
From there Pimentel takes the goodies to the San Diego Food Bank in San Marcos. Its distributed to people — many being seniors — in our area where hunger is real. And really, what better way to embrace this time of the year than aiding those in need?
“I remember when we were kids and we had spaghetti but we didn’t use spaghetti sauce,” Pimentel said with a smile. “We would warm up the ketchup and that would be our sauce.”
We’re blessed to live in North County and there’s little doubt on how affluent it is. But that doesn’t mean others are so fortunate and that’s why Pimentel swoops up cans and pesters super markets to contribute.
“One time a guy gave me a whole pallet of cans from a store,” Pimentel said, with pride.
There’s no shame in not having enough to eat.
“They are people that are hungry that are close by and I don’t think some people realize that,” Sharp said. “I know some of the kids my kids go to school with that hunger is an issue.”
For more than three decades Pimentel has made sure Carlsbad’s enviable athletic fields have stayed top-shelf. When he’s not doing toiling for the Parks and Recreation Department, the coach who directed Rancho Buena Vista Little League to the Little League World Series in 2005 tutors young baseball players.
Pimentel is old-school — he played at Carlsbad High and coached at MiraCosta College — but knew he had to help others.
“I’ve known Joe since high school,” said Oceanside’s Daryl Wasano, who similar to Pimentel, directed a local Little League to the LLWS in 2001. “He was a fierce competitor on the diamond with a heart of gold for not only youth sports but the surrounding community he lives in.”
Pimentel is living in the past when he contemplates the present. He remembers being that kid where second-helpings were slim and darn if anyone is going hungry on his watch.
“It’s amazing how much difference one can of food can make,” Pimentel said.
It’s not too late to help. Cans are being collected at Carlsbad’s Stagecoach Park, Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @jparis_sports