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Amid the Continuing Pandemic, Keenum and the Entire ‘Fill the Stadium’ Team Focus on Freeing the World’s Neediest from Desperate Hunger

November 15, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — According to a recent report, “the number of people on the edge of famine has almost doubled since the start of the pandemic,” with millions going hungry daily, as well as lacking medical care and other means of support. As people living in poor and conflict-affected nations are suffering most of all, many are looking for ways to aid those most impacted by the pandemic.

Compassion International and its Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiativehas a goal to assist in providing essential food, medical care and support to impoverished children and their families. In order to bring awareness to this mission, Compassion is teaming up with top athletes to shine a light on this global issue and feed 70,000 children around the world, or the average number of seats in an NFL stadium.

The stadium has received massive support so far, but the mission is not completed yet. Compassion’s CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado is determined to achieve Fill the Stadium’s goal of helping all 70,000 children in crisis. The team has raised over $33 million so far, reaching more than 66,000 kids and their families, but they must “fill the stadium” and reach all 70,000 kids at grave risk of hunger, or worse.

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

One athlete that partnered with Fill the Stadium is Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum. The NCAA’s all-time leader in total passing yards, touchdowns, and completions, Keenum is familiar with setting lofty goals and achieving them in his athletic career. Now, Keenum is turning his attention towards Fill the Stadium’s mission.

“Pro athletes from all over the country are teaming up with Compassion International to help kids in crisis around the world,” Keenum said. “Because of COVID-19 complications, kids around the world need our help. They’re going hungry and some are facing starvation. We want these kids to be able to survive so that they can have the same opportunities to live out God’s plan for their lives. It’s why we’re teaming up with Compassion to stand in the gap for 70,000 kids who are at risk.

“Those kids could fill an average NFL stadium, so let’s fill every seat.”

In the COVID-19 era, “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 Keenum, 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; Jordy Nelson, former professional wide receiver; 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.