Saturday night, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was awarded the Heisman Trophy after drawing attention for his big plays. During his speech, however, the Ohio native shed light on a different situation when he spoke about the poverty surrounding Athens County. In response, a fundraising campaign has generated more than $130,000 for local residents.
A man named Will Drabold started the Facebook campaign after watching Burrow's speech, and he set an initial goal of raising $150,000 for Athens and Athens County. As he wrote in the description: "Let's answer Joey's call to action by supporting a local nonprofit that serves food to more than 5,000 households in Athens County each year."
"Coming from southeast Ohio it's a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average," Burrow said during his speech. "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."
In fewer than 48 hours, the campaign has received donations from nearly 4,000 individuals. Those chipping in also aren't limited to fans of the LSU Tigers. There were some Alabama Crimson Tide faithful in the comments that said they respected Burrow and wanted to help out this area of Ohio any way that they could.
Per Burrow's official Twitter account, there are actually three separate fundraising campaigns taking place on Facebook. The aforementioned campaign started by Drabold is the largest with more than $130,000. Another fundraiser, which was started by Lois Young Stuckey, has nearly $4,000. The third, which was started by Shelby Christian, has raised nearly $7,000.
While winning the Heisman Trophy certainly makes it more likely that Burrow will hear his name called very early in the 2020 NFL Draft, that isn't his focus at the moment. As he told CBS Sports on Sunday morning, reigning victorious during the College Football Playoffs is far more important at this point in time than worrying about his NFL future.
That being said, helping out his local community is very important to the future NFL quarterback. Burrow made it very clear that Athens County is struggling, and he wants to help out in any way that he can. Bringing attention to the situation certainly provided some relief in the form of thousands of dollars.
(Photo Credit: Adam Hunger/Getty)