College football is a way of life for millions of people around the world. Die-hard fans paint their faces and spend entire days in bitter weather conditions to cheer their teams and their alma maters on toward victory. It would be easy to forget that the players we hold responsible for wins and losses are young men, between 18 and 22 years old, who are students dealing with the ups and downs of college life. These student-athletes only make the news for wins and losses and rarely for anything else. However, it should be noted that there are incredible young men playing football across the country doing great things in their communities and around the world.
During Thanksgiving break, I had the privilege of working with the Penn State Nittany Lions football team. Not only were the players on break, they were also in the midst of a game-week, which they would win in dominant fashion. In the middle of their busy schedules, they gave up two hours of their time to package over 8,000 meals.
This might not seem like a huge feat, as you may have read stories about large corporations packaging hundreds of thousands of meals, but here’s the kicker as to why the Penn St. football team inspired our organization: the players paid for every meal they packaged. Beyond the fact that these young men play for one of the most prestigious football programs in the country, they are college students who don’t have an income. The players receive per-diems for food each week and it was their decision to donate that to Rise Against Hunger so they were able to package meals.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, what you do or what you’re good at, you have a role to play in our work to end world hunger by 2030. The Nittany Lion football program, from Coach Franklin down, are incredible young men who inspired us. They didn’t have to give their time, let alone their money, but they did and for that, we are incredibly grateful.