This athlete is a Most Valuable Player on and off the football field! A day after being named by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) as the Week 11 Community MVP, San Francisco 49er cornerback Richard Sherman made a generous donation to clear a school’s cafeteria debt.
Each week during the regular season, the NFLPA Community MVP program recognizes an NFL player who has created positive impacts for his community. The NFLPA honored Sherman on 22 November for the accomplishments of Blanket Coverage, the Richard Sherman Family Foundation.
Blanket Coverage has done extensive charity work. Since 2013, the foundation has raised more than $1.5 million and addressed the needs of more than 70,000 students in low-income communities to help them focus on achieving their goals.
More recently, Sherman donated $5,000 and generated public support through his extensive social media reach to help raise money for Hub City 6U, a Compton Pop Warner football team, to attend the National Youth Championship in Florida.
In the previous month, Blanket Coverage donated more than $20,000 to Tacoma Public Schools in Tacoma, Washington, to relieve the lunch debt of students receiving a free or reduced lunch. And just a day after being recognized by the NFLPA, Sherman handed a check for $7,491.27 to the principal of Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara, California, to clear the debt of about 60 students to the school cafeteria.
Principal Stan Garber acknowledged the wonderful donation on a post on the school’s website. “Richard’s gesture created such goodwill for the 49ers that they went on to sack Aaron Roger’s and the Green Bay Packers the next day on national TV by a score of 37-8,” wrote Garber. “Go 49ers, Go Richard Sherman.”
Cabrillo Middle School is the nearest school to Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, and Garber praised the 49ers organization for giving back to the community since they arrived five years ago.
He added, “It’s the most generous thing to happen for these kids, there’s plenty in need and he didn’t neglect them, it was the perfect way to give back and help them. It was the kindest most generous gesture.”
Blanket Coverage – The Richard Sherman Family Foundation, also sent a letter to the school’s Nutrition Services Department, stating, “We have found that eliminating student lunch debt is one way to help assist students and their families in relieving some of the stress that comes with attending school on a daily basis. The last thing any child should have to worry about is being able to afford eating breakfast and lunch at school; we aim to do our part in eliminating that obstacle.”
Childhood hunger, and consequently student lunch debt, has become a major problem in the public school system. Rather than have students go hungry, they are allowed by schools to carry a lunch debt. Unfortunately parents aren’t always able to pay the debt back.
When this happens, schools have different ways of penalizing the students, all of which result in public shaming and other negative impacts on students. It is estimated that 75 percent of all school districts in the country ended the last school year with lunch debt.
In addition to other acts of generosity, Blank Coverage has been giving away annual backpack and homeless care kits, and holiday giveaways for the past seven years.
These cover more than 15,000 backpacks, 7,100 care packages to the homeless, adoption of more than 160 families during the holidays, and distribution of $500 gift cards for Thanksgiving to 25 low-income families.
In tune with the Thanksgiving spirit, the foundation also restocked the shelves of three food banks in the Seattle and Tacoma areas. Sherman said, “When we heard the food bank was experiencing a food shortage, we knew we had to step in and do something. It has been incredible to see how our donation has sparked a big movement and has driven others to donate as well. No child should ever go hungry.”
The 31-year old NFL veteran is doing his part to spread the love and help people in need. That’s the spirit of a true champion, on and off the field.