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One of the NFL's top players won't be taking home a paycheck this season. He's doing something much better.

Now playing in his 10th season in the league, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long decided to up his charity game. At the beginning of the season, just weeks after white supremacists marched through his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, Long committed to donating his first six game checks of the season to funding scholarships for local students.

Long during the Eagles' Sept. 10, 2017, game. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.


"In August, we watched people fill our hometown streets with hatred and bigotry," Long said in a press release. "Megan and I decided to try to combat those actions with our own positive investment in our community."

That same day, he teased a larger undertaking, promising to share more in coming weeks. Today, he unveiled that new project, committing his final 10 game checks to funding educational programs in the three communities he's played for during his career (Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New England), saying that he hopes it'll "inspire others to invest time, money or passion into our communities and into our kids." Long's base salary for the 2017 season is $1 million.

Long's career has been marked by the good he's done off the field as much as what he's done on it.

In 2015, Long launched the Waterboys initiative, an off-shoot of his charity, the Chris Long Foundation. Waterboys was created to bring clean drinking water to communities in rural East Africa. To date, the group has funded the creation of 26 wells. Long's foundation has also done some great work addressing homelessness, helping returning veterans get back on their feet, and providing support for youth programs.

He's also been a thoughtful, supportive voice during the controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the anthem. Asked what he thought about Colin Kaepernick's protests in 2016, he told ESPN that while he wasn't comfortable kneeling, he supported Kaepernick and other players who did.

"I play in a league that's 70 percent black and my peers, guys I come to work with, guys I respect who are very socially aware and are intellectual guys, if they identify something that they think is worth putting their reputations on the line, creating controversy, I'm going to listen to those guys," he said.

This season, he's shown solidarity with teammates Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins, who both decided to hold a raised fist during the anthem, by putting his arm around Jenkins's shoulder.

Long stands beside teammates McLeod and Jenkins during the national anthem on Oct. 8, 2017. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images.

While Long's history of charity work and allyship is hard to match, it's not entirely out of the ordinary.

"What good does kneeling do?" asked some observers of the recent protests. "If these spoiled millionaires REALLY wanted [to] 'improve' these communities, shouldn't they use their money [to] support and move into these communities?" asked another.

The truth is that professional athletes have been doing all the things that people suggest could be done instead of kneeling — which league officials have been trying to pressure them to abandon. Even though he's not on anyone's roster this season, Kaepernick has continued to make good on his million-dollar charity pledge, outlining his actions on his website. Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans gave his first paycheck to stadium workers affected by Hurricane Harvey. The list of thoughtful, charitable acts goes on and on.

Long's bold act of giving back to his community is more than a publicity stunt; it's a way of life that he and many of his NFL colleagues share.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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