Joe Burrow convincingly became the second Heisman Trophy winner in LSU history over the weekend, receiving 841 of a possible 927 first place votes en route to earning the sport’s highest individual honor. While giving his acceptance speech, Burrow took a moment to bring to light the struggles facing youngsters in his hometown, and in response, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for a local food pantry.
Burrow went to high school in Athens, Ohio, and midway through his speech, the LSU standout let people know that life is hard on folks in part of the state where he became a four-star recruit who committed to play his college ball at Ohio State.
“Coming from southeast Ohio, it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average,” Burrow said. “There’s so many people there that don’t have a lot and 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.”
In response to Burrow encouraging youngsters in the city, Athens resident Will Drabold set up a Facebook Fundraiser that looked to accrue funds for the Athens County Food Pantry. It’s received plenty of attention, including this tweet by the football program at Athens High School, which Burrow retweeted.
Below are the 3 fundraisers for our local food bank! @WBRZ @WAFB @nbc4i @wkyc @fox28columbus @wsyx6 @WBRZ @athensmessenger https://t.co/eibODpWZzlhttps://t.co/xzQOvPRN6fhttps://t.co/rKibkwuua6 pic.twitter.com/lmzUs3UHQg
— Athens Football (@bulldogbrohood) December 16, 2019
As of this publishing, the fundraiser has raised $387,624 in only three days, with nearly 11,000 people donating money. And in a Facebook post of their own, the food pantry expressed its gratitude for Burrow and the fundraiser, saying that, “Our board will be having in-depth conversations about the best ways to use these funds. This is very new to us. We have never received an outpouring of financial support of this magnitude. We seek to be careful and deliberate in making these decisions, as the opportunities to further address food insecurity and hunger are numerous and the possibilities are nearly endless.”
Untangling the gigantic web that is poverty in America and making lasting, substantial change is an arduous task, one that no one can take on alone. It’s something that is exponentially bigger than the Heisman Trophy winner, but as this shows, Burrow was able to use his platform to change the lives of thousands of people in an area near and dear to his heart.