Story at a glance

  • 2019 Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow spoke about the impoverished conditions in his Athens, Ohio, hometown.
  • The nationally televised speech inspired a local Athens County man to start a fundraiser for food-insecure residents.
  • So far, the fund has raised $379,212 dollars in just three days.

Winning the prestigious Heisman trophy is a landmark achievement for any college football player, and the 2019 winner, Louisiana State University (LSU) quarterback Joe Burrow, was visibly emotional during his acceptance speech.

Burrow reflected on growing up in Athens, Ohio, which despite being home to Ohio University is a relatively impoverished town. The poverty rate is 30.2 percent, which is more than double the national rate of 12.3 percent. 

He tearfully thanked his coaches, parents, and support groups, but notably spoke to the children of Athens County who are “hungry after school,” telling them that they can achieve the same levels of greatness that he has. 

His speech inspired a local Athens County resident, Will Drabold, to set up a fundraiser via Facebook to donate money to the Athens County Food Pantry inspired by Burrow’s Heisman speech. Drabold calls the fundraiser an answer to Burrow’s “call to action.”

As of today, $379,212 dollars out of the $400,000 goal has been raised over the course of three days. 

The Athens County Food Pantry is a nonprofit that provides food assistance to vulnerable Athens County residents. 


Published on Dec 17, 2019