NFL moms and Campbell’s donate food for hungry

01/28/09 Seán Kinane
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As Tampa prepares for Sunday’s Super Bowl, a group of NFL players’ mothers announced that they have raised more than a half-million pounds of food for the country’s food banks.

This morning at America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay in east Tampa, four members of the Professional Football Player’s Mothers Association PFPMA teamed up with Campbell’s to donate 1,000 cans of soup.

Wilma Char McNabb, mother of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, is president of PFPMA.

“Our sons are out on the field and everybody sees them, and they know about what they do and the money they make and things like that. But most of the mothers, we have a charitable heart. We know that people are hurting out there and we want to make sure that we give back to our communities. That’s what we teach our sons to do and, of course, that’s what we need to do. And so PFPMA has started this, and that was our mission, is to do a lot of charitable endeavors. Make sure at every NFL city, we conference in July, and during the Super Bowl to make sure we give back.”

McNabb says PFPMA has worked with Campbell’s for several years to tackle hunger; this year 35 NFL moms have collected food in the communities where they live.

Cheryl Foster, the mother of San Francisco 49ers running back DeShaun Foster, collected more than 112,000 pounds of food in Orange County, California. “I was able to get the community to really get involved.”

The warehouse shelves of America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay are stocked like a grocery store. The NFL moms helped pack food bags that would be distributed to families and gave out cans of soup to a class of preschoolers from the Happy Land Learning Center.

Pat Rogers is executive director of America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay. “Oh, it’s really a blessing. As you’ve all heard, the needs are up at least 40 percent with all the people that we serve here in the Tampa, Hillsborough, Pinellas County area. Our receipts are up 20 percent, but as you can see, we’re going to start running out of food shortly. So all these donations – the fact that these women raised over a half a million pounds of food for the food bank system nationwide is really amazing. Only 35 of them and they were able to raise that much food.”

Berma Colbert, the mother of Keary Colbert of the Detroit Lions, and Alicia McCareins, mother of Justin McCareins of the Tennessee Titans, also assisted in handing out soup cans. Along with Foster, the three NFL moms each raised more than 86,000 pounds of food this year.

John Faulkner is director of brand communications with Campbell’s Soup Co/. He praised the NFL moms as an example of the power that individuals can have in their communities. “And you see it here today at this food bank where you have volunteers. Kids volunteering in the back, the Junior League is volunteering over here packing meals for weekends for kids. … There’s just innumerable faces of hunger in America. The statistics are startling: 38 million Americans are at risk of hunger every day, 14 million kids are at risk of hunger.”

Faulkner says that because of the economic downturn, many more people need to rely on food banks.

“A little bit [of contribution] by a lot of people goes a long way. So everybody can find a way to make a small contribution, whether it’s financial, time or product to meet the need.”

McNabb agrees that demand for food is up during the recession. But despite the economy, she says that people continued to donate to their Tackling Hunger food drive.

“Because of the economic crisis -- made it much easier to do. People who have want to make sure they can help in some way. … Even if you didn’t have, sometimes you give from your heart.”

Rogers agrees that people have continued to be generous with food contributions during the economic crisis.

“We get food drives that mainly occur in November-December, and those were up 10 percent. … We give [food] a second chance, you know, to get to the hungry.”

America’s Second Harvest does not distribute food directly to residents; it provides food to 350 local agencies that feed the hungry.

To donate food, or if you need food, you can find out the name of a nearby food bank by phoning America’s Second Harvest at (813) 254-1190.

Professional Football Player’s Mothers Association

America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay

Campbell’s Soup Company

Feeding America / America’s Second Harvest

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