Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow may be a Heisman Trophy winner, but he hasn't forgotten his roots. The "kid from Ohio, come down to the Bayou" took time out of his Saturday acceptance speech in New York City to mention 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." Since then, nearly 10,000 people have donated a combined $447,000 to the Athens County Food Pantry, which served 5,702 people in 2018, 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 Facebook post. "We have never received an outpouring of financial support of this magnitude." Athens resident Will Drabold started the fundraiser on Facebook after seeing Burrow's speech, hoping 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." (Read more Heisman Trophy stories.)