How NFL players are helping with COVID-19 crisis


Among those around the NFL who have helped causes, in their own words:

Chandler Jones
Cardinals defensive end
Donated 150,000 meals to food banks in Arizona and his hometown of Endicott, N.Y.

“This thing is not discriminating. It’s every social class. I stay home all the time now.

“I paid attention to it in phases. The first time I really paid attention is when the NBA suspended the season. Wow, this is somewhat serious. Next phase: I’m in a Safeway in Arizona, so many shelves empty, so many products just not in the story. I thought, Whoa, this is crazy. Then I needed some video-game equipment, and I went to the Best Buy, and it was closed, and there are guys in lime-green jackets with masks on, taking orders from people in their cars. Man, that was crazy. I try to stay away from the news, but I watched the news, started to realize people were not only losing jobs, but they weren’t eating—and a lot of them had no way to even get food. So what could I do from my home? My financial advising team got me a list of food banks and I decided this was the best thing to do, financing 150,000 meals.

“What inspired me? My mom. She used to cook for the Meals on Wheels program, then she delivered the food. She did it every day. She inspired me. So the food problem across the country is a huge, huge problem. Maybe this can put a little dent in it.”

The Arizona Food Bank Network

Jared Goff
Rams quarterback
Financed 1 million meals for Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, with an emphasis on meals for L.A. public school students

“Part of my job as quarterback is to put my arms around people, to be helpful.

“The hardest part for me is seeing the kids who aren’t eating, kids in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I asked our community relations department with the Rams, How do we get these kids food? And Andrew Whitworth and I—Andrew is fantastic, he’s taught me so much about being a leader in the community—decided to do this cause. The L.A. Regional Food Bank does such a great job. They have the ability to provide four meals for a dollar—they get the best food deals on everything. Really, I just wanted to help in some way. I just felt the need to do something.

“Entering my fifth year, I planted my roots here. I love it here. I’m fully ingrained in the community, and I wanted to be part of this community for a long, long time. So this is part of that. This is crazy, a wild time, such a different time. We’ll always remember this. Remember when we were locked down because of that virus?

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Matt Ryan
Falcons quarterback
Gave $50,000 to Atlanta Community Food Bank, $50,000 to Giving Kitchen, which helps at-risk food-service workers

“We’re all doing what we should be doing, if we’re in a position to help.

“Everyone’s targeted causes that are close to their heart. My wife and I have so many friends in the food industry, who own restaurants or who work at restaurants, who have been totally affected by this virus and the quarantines and the shutdown. Friends at the Giving Kitchen who have done a great job helping service workers who’ve come upon hard times, either get sick or are out of work. With the Atlanta Community Food Bank, so many kids are out of school, dependent on two meals—breakfast and lunch—with families who may be having a hard time too. For us, we’re not done. We’re gonna continue to evaluate situations to see what additional areas we can make an impact in and help our community.”

Giving Kitchen Atlanta

Kyle Rudolph
Vikings tight end (number 82)
Seeded a Twin Cities meal campaign with goal of 500,000 meals by donating 82,000 meals to Second Harvest Hartland

“Without food service at school, a lot of kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

“My wife Jordan and I here in the Twin Cities have provided meals for kids and for families that go through food insecurity. We’re fortunate. The only uncertainty I have right now is entertaining my three kids under 4 on a daily basis . . . We thought it was our responsibility to support so many of the families here in the Twin Cities that have supported us, not only on Sundays but with everything else we’ve done in the community here. The big thing I tell people . . . They might say, ‘Well, my donation won’t make a big difference.’ A donation of $25 will feed one person for an entire month. Think of that, and it’s crazy. You wouldn’t think $25 would go that far. Take that a step further. If you donate $100, you’re feeding a family of four for an entire month. We’ve had unbelievable support from all over the country.”

Rudy’s Meal Plan, at Second Harvest Heartland

Arthur Blank
Falcons owner
Gave $5.4 million to Georgia and Montana causes, with $5 million going to Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund

“You and I have never seen anything like this in our lifetimes.

“We’ve got to make sure that all of our health care providers and the whole health care system are ‘armed’ if you will, in every sense of the word. That includes everything from all the equipment they need to food, etc. I’ll just give you one little example. A lot of the intensive care units across the country now are swamped. The people who work in those intensive care units, they don’t even have time to go out and get food. One of our doctor friends came up with a program that we’re supporting now where we’re picking up food at a variety of different restaurants—really good food—and actually having it delivered to the hospitals, to help feed the staffs who can’t leave. I mean, there’s a million little ways.

“My daughter called me this morning from Montana. She said, there’s a company there that’s usually involved in making this or this and they’re now making masks. Whatever number of masks they can make. It’s not millions, but it’s like a thousand masks. So I think that every organization, every person, is trying to do what they can. I said this the other day to our associates: One of the ways that personally people will get through this is by reaching out and trying in any way they can, trying to help others. That’s where the heal is, to help other people heal. The focus goes off the self and on to somebody else.

Hands On Atlanta, one of Blank’s beneficiaries, will ensure 31 AmeriCorps members can continue to tutor Atlanta public school students in need. 

Drew Brees
Saints quarterback
Gave $5 million, in part to have 10,000 prepared meals delivered per day to needy Louisianans for the duration of the pandemic

(Via “The Today Show”)

“There are so many people in need right now, so many in the state of Louisiana.

“The state of Louisiana thrives on small business. We’re a hospitality state. Even with the stimulus package . . . that’s probably going to take a while before people really see the benefits of that. So how do they sustain? How do they survive? We all have to come together, to make sure we get through this together. We’ve been through a lot of tough times together, whether it’s hurricanes, oil spills, floods, and this is just another one of those bits of adversity and we’re gonna come out better on the other side.”

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.