Top Leaders and Athletes Announce ‘Fill The Stadium,’ a Unique Effort This Fall for Children Struggling in the Wake of COVID-19

Says the Lead Team, ‘This Endeavor Desperately Needs Caring, Prayerful, Thoughtful Americans’

November 9, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.—The coronavirus has wreaked havoc this year in a myriad of ways. But it won’t stop a determined community of athletes and influencers from advocating for the needs of children living in desperate poverty around the globe.

Fill The Stadium ( is an urgent effort with a unique goal. It seeks to help 70,000 children and their families through the critical next 12 months—roughly the average capacity of pro-football stadiums in America. Fill The Stadium hopes that those who would normally spend money to attend a pro-sports event this year—but who can’t because of COVID-19—choose instead to support at-risk children who need urgent help.

The Fill The Stadium lead team consists of standouts in their fields—and already they’ve attracted a strong assist to their God-focused cause. Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado is CEO and President of Compassion International, a Christ-centered, church-based ministry dedicated to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Steve Stenstrom is President of Pro Athletes Outreach—and as a former NFL quarterback, he knows all about getting the ball over the line for a winning purpose. Together, they seek to Fill The Stadium.

Fill The Stadium leaders note that $500—approximately the same amount a family of four would spend on a pro-football game day for tickets, meals, parking, and a program—will help provide one year of food, nutritional supplements, hygiene essentials, and COVID-19 medical screenings for a child in crisis. So far, the group has “filled” over 16,000 seats—well on their way to the goal of helping 70,000 children.

Says Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, “Long before any signs of a pandemic, Compassion registered an additional 70,000 highly vulnerable children into our program. But after more than 1,200 promotional events had to be canceled due to COVID-19, they are still waiting to be sponsored. As these children wait for loving sponsors, it’s our priority to provide for their critical needs. We know the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt most severely by those living in poverty. And the devastation is growing as the virus continues to hit the developing world in urban, overpopulated areas and regions with limited access to testing and treatment.”

Says Steve Stenstrom, “We are approaching a tipping point moment in this movement, and we’re inspired more than ever to reach a critical mass and help tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, in desperate need around the globe. This has been, and continues to be, a time for us to be obedient to what He asks of us.”

Already signed on for key roles in the Fill The Stadium effort are such standout professional athletes as Dakota Dozier of the Minnesota Vikings; Alyssa Naeher of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team; Nick Foles, professional football MVP quarterback; Chris Davis, first baseman of the Baltimore Orioles; Devin and Jason McCourty, defensive backs of New England; Nate Solder of the New York Giants and many others. These elite athletes understand that their leadership and participation can help bring much-needed attention to this worthy cause.

In this year of coronavirus, “We are all experiencing the reality of empty stadiums,” says the Fill The Stadium team. It’s why this effort so desperately needs caring, prayerful and thoughtful Americans to join in.

“We’ve got a big gap this year because of COVID-19, yet we are determined to keep our commitment to every one of these 70,000 children,” says Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado.

Adds Steve Stenstrom, “We feel led to reach critical mass here. And we’re excited for what we can do and how we can help those in need. This is a time for us to be listening to the Lord’s voice.”

Visit Fill The Stadium today to learn more about this important new program and the triumphant team effort.


To interview a representative from Fill The Stadium, contact, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.