In the wake of the Southern California Wildfires that displaced thousands of people, Los Angeles Rams Punter JOHNNY HEKKER co-designed a T-shirt to help raise $17,877 for wildfire relief efforts. The navy blue T-shirts read "Together LA United" on the front and "LA Fire Relief" on the back, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting United Way's Southern California Wildfire Relief Fund.
Hekker's relief efforts began with immediate action, and his T-shirt campaign aimed to provide expanded support for those affected and unite our community as the victims and businesses worked to get back on their feet. On Hekker's day off on Tuesday, December 5, he and his wife Makayla, went shopping and purchased a truck-load of supplies and delivered them to a relief shelter in Ventura. Among the supplies were clothes, sporting equipment, baby wipes and socks. Hekker also paid his respects to many of the firefighters, aid workers, and volunteers who were invaluable in building networks of support. The NFL Players Association announced Hekker as the Week 14 "Community MVP" for his leadership in helping to bring relief to the devastated community.
"I just saw this as a long-term commitment to helping our neighbors get back on their feet," said Hekker. "For the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to come through and make this special fund for the people affected by the fires makes it worth giving to, I believe. People can have confidence in knowing that their money is going directly into the hands of the people that need it the most."
President and CEO of United Way Greater Los Angeles, Elise Buik, believes Hekker's efforts were a great example of how a simple idea driven by charitable intentions can make a huge impact on a community in need.
"The Los Angeles Rams aren't just tackling plays on the field, they're tackling important issues in the community and helping those in need," said Buik. "The recent wildfires that devastated Southern California, especially our neighbors in Ventura County, became an immediate issue of support from the Los Angeles Rams. We applaud their commitment of helping low-income individuals and families affected by the fires, and a huge thank you to Rams punter, Johnny Hekker, for stepping up with a big and creative idea that truly made an impact. As we begin funding nonprofits that will work on long-term rebuilding efforts for the victims of the fires, the Rams' contributions will make a significant impact."
Funds from the United Way Southern California Wildfire Relief Fund are being allocated based on need to vetted organizations throughout Southern California and focused on rebuilding and recovery efforts for victims affected by the fires, including United Way of Greater Los Angeles, United Way of Ventura County, United Way of Santa Barbara and United Way of San Diego. If you'd like to give directly to United Way of Ventura County's Thomas Fire Fund, please click here.
Non-profit organizations looking for funding to support victims of the Southern California wildfires and floods can apply for a grant at unitedwayla.org/grant.
If you would like to make a donation to support victims throughout Southern California, please visit unitedwayla.org/socal.
For more information about the Rams community initiatives, please visit therams.com/community.