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Nelson and Others Are Determined to Help Desperately Needy Children Amid the Continuing Pandemic

September 21, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With the 2021 NFL football season well underway, fans have been flocking to stadiums as their favorite pro teams compete with grit and passion. But another type of “stadium” must also be “filled”—and former NFL wide receiver Jordy Nelson is determined to help make it happen.

For a total of 11 seasons, Nelson gave a major assist to the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders, including helping Green Bay to a Super Bowl win in 2010. Today, Nelson and many others know that COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on poverty-stricken children worldwide. That’s why Compassion International, through its Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative, has been providing essential food, medical care, and support to the impoverished—but the effort is not complete. Compassion’s CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado is determined to achieve Fill the Stadium’s goal of helping all 70,000 children in crisis. To date, the team has raised over $32 million for over 64,000 kids and their families, but they must still “fill the stadium” and reach all 70,000 kids 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 pandemic. That’s enough children to fill the average NFL football stadium. At Compassion, we believe the empty stadiums at NFL games last season were a sobering reminder of all those who still need essential food, health care, and support as this crisis continues.”

Jordy Nelson adds, “This is a creative way to help raise money and assist 70,000 kids in need of food, water, hygiene products, medicine, and more. When this first came to me, I immediately wanted to be a part of it. I feel that we who are more fortunate in the U.S. have got to step up and take care of kids in need.”

After a year of cancelled games and vacant stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the image of an empty stadium is one all athletes and fans can relate to—and as satisfying as it is to see football stadiums across the country being filled during this current season, it’s even more important to see Compassion’s “stadium” filled.

“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.”

In addition to Nelson, those holding co-leadership roles in this charitable team effort are 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; Sam Burns, PGA TOUR golfer; Nick Ahmed of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Carson Palmer, former professional quarterback; Devin and Jason McCourty, NFL defensive backs; 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 in the effort.

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.


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.