When LSU quarterback Joe Burrow accepted the Heisman Trophy on Saturday (December 14), he brought up the problems facing his hometown of Athens, Ohio, during his speech. Burrow had to hold back tears as he recalled the poverty that has plagued southeast Ohio.
"Coming from southeast Ohio, it's a very impoverished area, and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average," he said. "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."
After hearing Burrow's speech, Athens resident Will Drabold was inspired and decided to create a fundraiser on Facebook to help local residents who were struggling to make ends meet. In just one day, the fundraiser surpassed its goal of raising $50,000 for the Athens County Food Pantry, a local nonprofit that serves food to more than 5,000 households in Athens County each year.
Drabold has since raised the goal to $400,000 and is close to surpassing that as well.
The pantry said that it has received an overwhelming amount of support following Burrow's speech.
"For the fundraisers inspired by Joe Burrow, we are simply overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people! Our board will be having in-depth conversations about the best ways to use these funds. This is very new to us. We have never received an outpouring of financial support of this magnitude," the organization wrote on Facebook.
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