Pro athlete drives effort to deliver life-saving aid for more than 76,000 children worldwide struggling in the wake of COVID-19
February 22, 2022
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In less than two years, Compassion International’s Fill the Stadium surpassed their goal to raise $35 million and provide lifesaving aid to 70,000 children who have been affected by the pandemic. Over 76,000 recently registered children in the Compassion program have received food, supplies, and other necessary items.
This impressive effort was headed by Compassion CEO and President Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado and Steve Stenstrom, president of Pro Athletes Outreach,along with many notable professional athletes. One athlete who helped to “fill the stadium” is Alyssa Naeher, the number-one goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. A standout pro player with the Chicago Red Stars as well as a two-time Olympian, Naeher was the starting goalie for the 2019 World Cup-winning team.
Naeher stated, “There’s a lot of people hurting right now, a lot of extra people needing help at an extreme time. When I hear the number 70,000—it’s a big number. For me, I compare that to a specific event of playing the World Cup final in Lyonnais in 2019 in a sold-out stadium. It was energetic. It was loud. And it was an experience people chose. Now 70,000 kids worldwide are benefiting from this project and live a better life because of our help, and I am so thankful for all those who helped ‘fill a seat’ in the stadium for a great cause.”
Mellado commented, “Now that the goal for this initiative has been met, my prayer is that the resourced world won’t move on too quickly and forget about the rest of their under-resourced brothers and sisters who desperately need their assistance. They continue to need our support both financially and spiritually.”
Joining Naeher in co-leadership roles for Fill the Stadium efforts are such standout professional athletes as Carson Palmer, former NFL quarterback; Chris Davis, former Baltimore Oriole first baseman, Nate Solder, New York Giants offensive tackle; Case Keenum, Cleveland Browns quarterback; 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; Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes; Brock Huard, FOX sports broadcaster and former professional quarterback; and many others.
Compassion Internationalis a Christian child development organization working to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Founded in 1952, Compassion partners with more than 8,000 local churches in 25 program countries to deliver spiritual, economic, social, and physical care to over two million babies, children, and young adults in poverty. Ranked No. 8 in Forbes’ America’s Top Charities List in 2020, Compassion is a founding member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information, visit compassion.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.