This past Saturday, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson exited the AFC Divisional Round game versus the Buffalo Bills after he suffered a concussion in the third quarter. And although the Ravens’ ensuing loss marked their eighth straight season of not making it to the conference championship game, the Bills Mafia was ever classy and saw that Jackson could still finish the season a winner.
That night, a Bills Fan and Redditor shared that he donated $25 to the Louisville, KY chapter of the nonprofit organization Blessings in Backpack after learning that it was Jackson’s favorite charity. As soon as that message spread, funds started pouring in, and more than 5,500 Bills have since donated over $150,000 to the charity.
“Can we talk about the Bills Mafia?” gushed the charity’s chief marketing officer Nikki Grizzle to USA Today. “This is amazing. You took a normal Sunday in January and turned it into one of the greatest days in Blessings history.” The charity also took to Twitter to express its appreciation and gratitude for the gesture.
The mission of Blessings in a Backpack is to see that the children who rely on federal programs during the week to eat do not also have to go hungry on the weekends. Jackson has been working with the Louisville chapter for the past three years, where he played college football for the Cardinals. In January 2018, Jackson raised $25,000 in profits from signing autographs and donated that money to the charity.
However, because of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the charity’s young customers are no longer certain of those needs being met from Monday through Friday anymore, so the charity has changed its scope to address the crisis every day.
Grizzle shared how such acts of kindness are so necessary in these times, especially against the backdrop of a world rocked by the coronavirus. “This amount of money is going to make a huge impact on our organization, especially in a time right now during this pandemic where there are more children now than ever that need our program.”
The Bills Mafia’s generosity did not stop with Jackson, either. Ravens left guard Bradley Bozeman, the team’s 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, tweeted his thanks on behalf of his charity, The Bradley and Nikki Boseman Foundation, for the donations it received from the Bills Mafia, too.
If you would like to learn more about the charity or how you can donate, please visit Blessings In A Backpack’s site for more information.