Soldotna boy starts fishy YouTube challenge for local food bank

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It seems like every day that a new internet challenge is spawned on one of the many social media platforms out there. Recently, 11-year-old Tristen Barnes from Soldotna started taking the internet’s heart by making viewers' stomachs churn in his “Sardine Challenge.”

It’s exactly what it sounds like. In his challenge video, Tristen gobbles down not one, not two, but an entire can of sardines. It’s followed by teeth brushing and a rinse with the garden hose immediately afterward. He confidently challenges the rest of the internet to follow his lead, even if he admits it is “disgusting.”

He hopes that the challenge will get his subscriptions up to the 1,000 mark. Tristen said this challenge is just one more step towards his ultimate goal.

“It’s my dream job, to be a YouTuber,” he said. “One or two was okay, but then the rest of the can, ugh. I did not like it.”

This challenge and his aspirations are inspired by his dad, Mikael Barnes.

“We were watching one of his favorite YouTubers, and he was eating sardines in it, and I told Tristen that I was going to buy a can for him,” Mikael Barnes said, “and I figured we may as well not waste the opportunity, might as well put it on film.”

Thus the challenge was born, but it isn’t just about eating fish out of a can and getting a few likes in the process. It’s about helping people get fed, hopefully on something better than sardines.

“We were like, ‘Why don’t we just donate $1,000 to the food bank?’” Tristen said.

So if Tristen gets to 1,000 subscribers on YouTube, his dad has pledged to give the local food bank in Soldotna a $1,000 donation.

On Monday, Tristen had a little less than 900 subscribers to go.

Mikael Barnes said he’s in the same position as a lot of parents out there. He’s got kids in his house who aren’t getting the same interaction with the community they normally would if there wasn’t a pandemic.

“I figured it was a great way to, you know, make them a part of the community,” he said, “even though we can’t be face-to-face all the time. We can on YouTube.”

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