Twenty-five kids made their way down the line, keen on claiming a sweatshirt, some gloves, a hat and a backpack, as a handful of individuals – clad in red – stood ready to greet them.
These were all former members of the Kansas City Chiefs - representing numerous generations of football lore – coming together to provide children with some winter clothes that they may not have been able to obtain otherwise.
The kids – each of which came with their adult mentor – were all members of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, an organization that offers children facing adversity a long-term developmental relationship with a caring adult.
And, as it turns out, that mission was about to receive some help.
Once every child was equipped with their new attire, longtime center Tim Grunhard gathered the group around to announce that the Chiefs Ambassadors and the Hunt Family Foundation were joining together to donate $50,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City as part of the Chiefs’ ongoing social justice efforts in the community.
The funds will support 25 kids and their corresponding adult mentors for a calendar year.
“One of the things that we try to do as Ambassadors is to help out in the community, and there’s really no better way to do that than to support kids,” Grunhard said. “These are all great kids – they all had big smiles on their faces – and we’re just so happy to be out here.”
The donation, which was split evenly between the Chiefs Ambassadors and the Hunt Family Foundation, represented the first action of its kind by former players as part of the National Football League’s new social justice initiative.
“We’re first,” Grunhard added. “It’s really important for us to be a part of this program, which is helping some great causes. We just want to make sure that we’re doing whatever we can to help out the less fortunate.”
In addition to supporting the organization financially, the afternoon doubled as a recruiting event for prospective adult mentors, or “Bigs.” The Ambassadors made a point of sticking around to meet those individuals while watching the Chiefs take on the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.
“The Chiefs have been great ambassadors for our city and they’ve been great ambassadors for our mission,” said Micheal Lawrence, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. “Many of these former players had coaches that were involved in their lives and really mentored them, and they’re just encouraging others to do that with someone in our program.”
“This is something that’s important to all of us,” added Keith Cash, President of the Chiefs Ambassadors. “We actually have some Ambassadors that were Bigs while they were playing – I know [former defensive end] Art Still was – and he goes back decades with the organization. It’s just something where there’s a need for positive role models, and we think it’s a great marriage between [their mission] and what we want to do.”
It all just stood as another example of the Ambassadors’ commitment to serving the Kansas City community long after they’ve hung up their cleats.
“I think it’s our job as former NFL players and representatives of the Chiefs to be mentors in the community,” Grunhard said. “A lot of these kids will have an opportunity to do great things because of the relationship that they have with their Bigs. Maybe one of them will play for the Chiefs one day. If we can help take care of the young people in this community, that’s what we’re going to do.”
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, click here.
The Kansas City Ambassadors announce a $25,000 donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, which will be matched by the Hunt Family Foundation. The $50,000 in total funds are focused on social justice efforts.