• Celebrity Status Put to Good Use: Heisman Winner Sparks Help for the Hungry

    Surge Summary: Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow used his acceptance speech to mention the needs of the hungry back in his home town of Athens, OH. His remarks inspired an outpouring of giving to an Athens food pantry which helps many thousands.

    In a luminous example of fame being put to constructive use, consider Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow. The brand new Heisman Trophy winner, clearly hasn’t forgotten his roots.

    Newser’s Arden Dier reports:

    Referring to himself as a “kid from Ohio coming down to the Bayou”, Burrow brought up during his Saturday New York City acceptance speech the topic of food insecurity in his native Athens.

    “It’s a very, very impoverished area. The poverty rate is almost two times the national average,” said Burrow, who won in a record-breaking landslide, per the Columbus Dispatch. “I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here, too.”

    No one should be particularly surprised that since the high-profile mention, nearly 10,000 people have donated to the Athens County Food Pantry: a combined $447,000. In 2018, it served 5,702 people, a third of whom were children.

    “Merely saying thank you for this amazing show of support for our work cannot accurately reflect the depth of our appreciation,” reads a[n Athens County Food Pantry] Facebook post. “We have never received an outpouring of financial support of this magnitude.”

    The Facebook fundraiser was the brainchild of Athens, OH resident Will Drabold. He started it after seeing Burrow’s speech. His original hope was to raise $1,000.

    He’s exceeded that goal to the point that “agencies will be sufficiently resourced for years to come,” the executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks tells the Dispatch. As a bonus, Drabold has also helped reduce stigma. A student at Plains Elementary School, where Burrow went to school and Drabold’s wife now teaches, “said, ‘I go to the food bank,’ with her eyes beaming,” Drabold writes, per NPR. “She was proud to say that she did.

    Over two-thousand years ago, Jesus challenged us:For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.” (Luke 12:48/NKJV)

    In 2019, Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow demonstrates that principle in action: his newly-minted celebrity put to efficacious use.

    Here’s hoping other potentially influential public figures will take the cue and follow his example.

    H/T: Newser/Arden Dier

    Image: Creative Commons; CC by 2.0; Adapted from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tmabaker/45343556931

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