‘Fill the Stadium’ Initiative; Reaching 70,000 Hungry and Hurting Children Worldwide

Compassion International and Premier Athletes Are Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

November 1, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization is urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides essential food, medical care, and support to children at risk all over the world. While many impoverished children and their families have been left behind because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Fill the Stadium leadership team and its allies are determined to “fill the stadium” and close a gap of tremendous need.

Compassion’s CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado and his team are resolved to achieve Fill the Stadium’sgoal of helping 70,000 children in crisis. So far, they’ve raised a little over $33 million for over 66,000 kids and their families, but they must still “fill the stadium” and reach all 70,000 children at grave risk of hunger, or worse.

Compassion’s CEO Jimmy Mellado says, “We are committed to caring for 70,000 children who were not sponsored due to the coronavirus pandemic. That’s enough children to fill the average NFL football stadium. At Compassion, we believe the empty stadiums at football games last season were a sobering reminder of all those who still need essential food, health care, and support as this crisis continues.”

As the head of the United Nations noted recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced more than 100 million people into poverty—and left an astonishing four billion people with little or no health care, social support, or income protection. Secretary-General António Guterres told an International Monetary Fund panel earlier this month that global solidary “is missing in action”—and that people living in poor and conflict-affected nations are suffering most of all, as the Associated Press reported.  

“Children are in crisis all over the world, and we will not forget them,” Mellado adds. “Many are suffering as a direct result of the ‘empty stadium’ effect caused by the global pandemic.”

After a year of canceled games and vacant stadiums because of the pandemic, the image of an empty stadium is one that all athletes and fans can understand. As satisfying as it is now to see football stadiums in the U.S. filled during this current fall season, it is even more critical to ensure that Compassion’s “stadium” is completely filled—and that those who were left behind receive the life-sustaining support they need.

“We have all experienced the reality of empty stadiums,” says the Fill the Stadium team. “The average NFL stadium holds 70,000 seats. We need to reach that many kids. This effort desperately needs a caring, prayerful, and thoughtful community to join together in this critical relief.”

Those holding co-leadership roles in this significant charitable effort are Carson Palmer, former professional quarterback; Sam Burns, PGA TOUR golfer; Alyssa Naeher, a member of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team (which won a Bronze Medal in Tokyo); Nick Foles, professional football MVP quarterback; Adam Engel of the Chicago White Sox; Nick Ahmed of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Devin and Jason McCourty, NFL defensive backs; Aaron Kampman, former NFL defensive end; Nate Solder of the New York Giants; Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes; Brock Huard, FOX sports broadcaster and former professional quarterback; and many others. Steve Stenstrom, president of Pro Athletes Outreach, is also playing a lead role.

To learn more about this effort, visit the Fill the Stadium website, as well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Founded in 1952,Compassion International is a Christian child development organization that works to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Compassion revolutionized the fight against global poverty by working exclusively with the Church to lift children out of spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. Compassion partners with more than 8,000 churches in 25 countries to deliver its holistic child development program to over 2 million babies, children, and young adults. Its child sponsorship program has been validated through independent, empirical research.

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To interview Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, president and CEO of Compassion International, or another Fill the Stadium spokesperson, contact Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.