As he accepted the coveted Heisman trophy, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow addressed the children in his hometown of Athens, Ohio, where thousands of residents live in poverty.
Burrow struggled to speak, holding back tears as he spoke about the children in his community who go hungry.
“Coming from southeast Ohio, it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average,” he said in his acceptance speech Saturday. “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 a matter of hours, the unassuming Appalachian town — home to Ohio University — was launched to national attention, inspiring Athens resident Will Drabold to create a fundraiser for the thousands of residents living under the poverty line.
In just a day, the fundraiser was inundated with donations and quickly shot past its original $50,000 goal. The organizer later updated the goal to $100,000, which was met within hours. The goal had reached $300,000 by Monday night.
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