When a devastating EF-5 twister cut a six-mile stretch of terror and ruins through Joplin, Missouri last May, the state’s professional and collegiate sports programs went to work rebuilding the city alongside thousands of volunteers.
In addition to individual team efforts, the Chiefs and Rams used their annual Governor’s Cup Game as a platform for Joplin awareness. The Royals and Cardinals used their I-70 series to raise funds for Joplin last June. The University of Missouri held an exhibition basketball game in Joplin and sold their iconic “One State. One Spirit. One Mizzou.” t-shirts.
The St. Louis Blues pitched in with donations and food drive efforts, while members of the NASCAR community volunteered at Ground Zero alongside Joplin native and Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray.
Now, those seven teams have entered into The Governor’s Joplin Habitat Challenge to build 35 homes through Habitat for Humanity with fans of each team invited to participate alongside their favorite organization.
“In the wake of the devastating tornado, folks from across Missouri and around the world stepped forward to help the Joplin community recover and rebuild, and Missouri’s major athletic organizations were a vital part of those recovery efforts,” Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said. “I am proud that Missouri’s teams are leading the way once again by participating in the 2012 Governor’s Joplin Habitat Challenge, and I encourage all Missourians to get involved.
“Together, we’ll tackle the critical issue of housing in Joplin by building 35 homes this year, and providing the resources for Habitat for Humanity to expand its mission in the years to come. Please visit MO.gov today to learn how you can get involved.”
Nearly 8,000 homes were destroyed in the single deadliest tornado to hit the United States since 1950 and thousands of Joplin residents remain homeless nearly a year later.
Players, coaches, alumni, broadcasters and front office staff members from each organization will serve alongside fans and volunteers to help build 35 new homes divided into seven different neighborhoods. The construction of the seven neighborhoods will be spearheaded by an individual team and their fans.
Governor Nixon’s administration will provide a $3.6 million Community Development Block Grant that will cover purchasing the land and materials, hiring construction managers, and hiring a volunteer coordinator.
Fans can visit MO.gov to sign-up to volunteer with the team of their choice. Additional information about mission of the Challenge is also available at MO.gov.
“From the earliest days of the tornado, the Chiefs organization has been committed to the long-term recovery effort in Joplin” said Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt. “From our water drive and financial contribution, to the organization-wide day of service last June, to hosting the Governor’s Cup and Joplin High School football at Arrowhead, we are continually looking for ways to assist those affected by this tragedy.
“Taking part in the 2012 Governor’s Joplin Habitat Challenge is the next step for the Chiefs and will allow us to continue to positively impact the rebuilding of Joplin, which is home to so many of our great fans.”
The message of the challenge’s launch: 35 homes. Seven teams. One mission.
“It’s a brilliant idea because it brings all of us together in an area that we all need to support,” said Chiefs President Mark Donovan. “It also brings out the competitive nature in each of the organizations. Trust me, we want the Chiefs neighborhood to be the best neighborhood and we’re going to do everything we can to make it the best.”
The Chiefs are excited to enter the 2012 Governor’s Joplin Habitat Challenge alongside the team’s fans.