NFL coalition gives $25K for COVID-19 response

BELLE GLADE — The NFL’s Inspire Change initiative and the Players Coalition announced Monday, April 20, that a number of grants totaling $3.05 million will be distributed among seven areas affected in major ways by the coronavirus pandemic — including the Belle Glade area.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Guardians of the Glades
PAHOKEE — To address food insecurities, people have come together in the Glades to distribute food at various locations to those who need it. “The Team, as we affectionately call ourselves, consists of organizations, pastors, community leaders and concerned volunteers who want to help … On Friday, April 17, The Team went to Pahokee to distribute food and talk with people about the importance of completing the 2020 Census survey. Those that came received milk, juice, fresh eggs, bread and produce. The Guardians know that when we help people in the community who need a little assistance, we inspire hope and, along with The Team, we were happy to bring hope to those needing it in Pahokee,” read a post April 20 on their Facebook page.

A grant of $25,000 has been received by the Guardians of the Glades community organization, co-founder Tammy Jackson-Moore said Tuesday. It is among many various recipients of the financial help directed to health systems, hospitals and nonprofits in Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Detroit; Washington, D.C.; Louisiana; and three organizations in Florida, according to the NFL Foundation/Players Coalition news release.

Boldin helped engineer the aid
Guardians of the Glades is very familiar personally to former Pahokee High School Blue Devils standout Anquan Boldin, a retired NFL star and an NFLPC co-founder as well as a member of the NFL’s Player-Owner Social Justice Working Group. It is a multiyear, ongoing collaboration of NFL players, clubs and owners to address racial inequality and social injustice.

“We know that during this difficult time, our minority and low-income communities are struggling disproportionately with the impact of COVID-19,” Mr. Boldin said.

“Communities in Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore and more are getting hit hard right now, and we want to do our part in ensuring these areas have even the basic needs. We are glad we can partner with the NFL to support the organizations who are on the ground providing for these families,” he added.

Ms. Jackson-Moore said that $25K contribution will go toward several efforts coordinated by the guardians group, or which it supports.

“It will allow us to expand our reach and support of the community during this COVID-19 pandemic. We are going to continue to work closely with other organizations as we’re hosting their food distributions. Hopefully, this support will allow us to get additional products in so that we can make certain that there is a wide array of food items for those who are needing them,” she said.

“We also want to work with others to be able to provide some support to our medical professionals. We want to be able to give N95 masks to Glades Health Care Center in Pahokee as well as Lakeside Medical Center,” Ms. Jackson-Moore continued.

Also, she related that there is now a daily feeding program for seniors in the Glades communities. “Local churches are picking up meals from local restaurants and delivering them to the seniors throughout the Glades area, and we want to be able to support those churches to make certain that they have what they need to take care of those invalids. So we’re going to take care of the fuel costs, because they’re using their church vehicles to get those meals delivered,” she said.

Need for all to work together
“I think this is a time where we all should be working together to make certain that people in our community that are having problems with food insecurity don’t have that to worry about during this difficult time,” Ms. Jackson-Moore stated emphatically.

There are churches in all three of the “Tri-Cities” — South Bay, Pahokee and Belle Glade. “There are 30 restaurants that are preparing and then the churches are picking them up,” she explained.

“Inspirational Church of God is taking care of South Bay. In Belle Glade, the pastor is Bishop Ken Berry and it’s Grace Fellowship Worship Center, and in Pahokee there are several churches that are involved in the distribution.”

Her personal connection with Mr. Boldin probably helped the Guardians of the Glades place on the beneficiary list.

“We did not solicit those funds, but he is concerned about what’s been happening and how people in the Glades area are being impacted by COVID-19. He’s always connected and tries to make certain that he’s available to assist when he can in his hometown,” Ms. Jackson-Moore related.

“So he saw and heard about what the Guardians of the Glades were doing and how we are working with other organizations … so he liked what we were doing and he encouraged his partners with the players’ association to support the initiative. This will allow us an opportunity to expand our reach during this very, very difficult time.”

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