NEW ORLEANS — Joe Burrow’s impact is being felt off the field after the record-breaking Tiger used his acceptance speech after being awarded the Heisman Trophy to highlight the issue of poverty in his hometown of Athens, Ohio.
“Coming from southeast Ohio it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average,” Burrow said. “There’s so many people there that don’t have a lot and I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here, too.”
It didn’t take long for people to act on Burrow’s emotional words and start raising money to help feed hungry families. Will Drabold, an Ohio University Alumnus who went to the same high school as Joe Burrow, launched a fundraiser for the Athens County Food Pantry that’s already raised more than $350,000 and shows no signs of slowing down.
“We are simply overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people!” The Athen County Food Pantry said in a statement on Facebook. “Our board will be having in-depth conversations about the best ways to use these funds. This is very new to us. We have never received an outpouring of financial support of this magnitude.”
Burrow is the first LSU Tiger to bring home the Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest individual honor, since Billy Cannon in 1959.
Burrow not only took home college football’s most prestigious award, but he also did so in record fashion – setting marks for largest margin of victory, the highest percentage of first-place votes (90.7 percent) and the highest percentage of being named on ballots at all (95.5).
Burrow won the Heisman handily by breaking nearly every passing record in the Tigers’ books, leading LSU to an undefeated 13-0 season, capturing the Southeast Conference title with coach Ed Orgeron for LSU’s first championship since 2011 and securing the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoffs — with all eyes now on a national championship.
This isn’t the end of Burrow and the Tigers though. LSU plays Oklahoma University in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 28 in Atlanta. If they win, they’ll come back to Louisiana for the College Football Championship game in January.