Local food pantry to get windfall of donations thanks to Burrow’s Heisman speech

January 16, 2019

By: Conor Burrow

In Joe Burrow’s home county, roughly 30 percent of all children in 2017 lived in households that were below the poverty level. More than one in four children are still considered “food insecure,” meaning there’s little certainty about when their next meal will come.

In Burrow’s hometown of The Plains (located just outside Athens), the elementary school – The Plains Elementary School – had the highest rate of students participating in the free and reduced lunch program (almost 75 percent) of any school in the county in 2017.

Burrow – who won this year’s Heisman award for his stellar college football play at Louisiana State University – seems to know these statistics all too well. He spent part of his acceptance speech Saturday night during the award ceremony talking about that very issue.

“Coming from southeast Ohio, it’s a very, very impoverished area,” Burrows said. “The poverty rate is almost two times the national average. 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.”

Since that speech Saturday, many thousands of dollars have been collected for the Athens County Food Pantry after multiple online fundraisers were started on Facebook, flowing from Louisiana, Ohio and beyond.

The most prolific of those fundraisers had raised roughly $150,000 as of Monday around 1:30 p.m., despite only being created Sunday morning with a modest goal of $1,000 (it was started by Will Drabold, an Athens High School graduate and Ohio University alum). Take the $150K number with a grain of salt, since by the time many of you read this, the amount likely will be much, much higher.

According to the Athens County Food Pantry’s Facebook page, in a typical month, the pantry serves over 400 households and 1,000 people, and provides food for around 9,000 meals a month (at 50 cents a meal because it can buy reduced-price food from the Southeast Ohio Food Bank). Athens County Food Pantry Board President Karin Bright said in an interview Monday afternoon that she could not thank Burrow and those who donated on Facebook enough.


Read the full article in the Athens Messenger here: https://www.athensnews.com/news/local/local-food-pantry-to-get-windfall-of-donations-thanks-to/article_08f47dcc-202f-11ea-9e96-a7e394f96d28.html