Page 31 - Florida Sentinel 2-26-21
P. 31

 NFL Players Association Donates Balloons To Children’s Hospital
 BY GWEN HAYES Sentinel Editor
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) was busy Super Bowl Week, spreading joy to seri- ously ill children who are hos- pitalized. As the community was busy with Super Bowl LV, the organization wanted to make sure the excitement reached all over the commu- nity.
They delivered 130 Super Bowl LV balloons to St. Joseph’s (Bay Care) Children’s Hospital.
James Harrell, who is President of the local chapter, and a member of the National Board, NFLPA, said their
“Basket of Hope” program works with the Tampa Police Dept. and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in ef- forts of Social Justice, bridging the gap between law enforce- ment and the community.
Harrell, who played in the NFL for several years, was joined on the hospital visit by Harold Hart, and Sankar Montoute. Harrell was in Miami for the 2020 Super Bowl where they were able to distribute baskets.
“Basket of Hope” was founded 25 years by National Executive Director, Angela Brunette, following the hos- pital stay of a 6-year-old daughter with cancer. In addi- tion to the treatment their
Harold Hart, Sankar Montoute and James Harrell and several others with the BayCare staff that helped distribute the balloons at St. Jospeh’s Children’s Hospital.
ture caught the eyes of Kurt Warner and Tony Dungy, who at the time was coach of the Indianapolis Colts. They introduced the gesture to the NFL, and it has become a part of Super Bowl Week in the city where the Super Bowl is held. A Basket of Hope is filled with toys, games, craft items, stuffed animals, gift cards and other items.
Due to the restrictions of COVID-19, Harrell and the NFLPA were not able to de- liver baskets, and Mrs. Brunette was unable to make the trip to Tampa. She said it only took Harrell a matter of minutes to get volunteers for the balloons, helium, and transportation. Instead, of baskets, they delivered bal- loons.
Harrell said they still plan to distribute baskets to the children, hopefully by mid- summer.
Mrs. Brunette said, “We are seeking sponsors for an upcoming Basket of Hope de- livery event in the summer. Make a donation to the na- tional office of Basket of Hope:
Brunettes also looked to God and the scriptures for encour- agement and hope. Today, that daughter is the mother of 3, and sharing those same messages to other children.
Seriously ill hospitalized children touched the heart of Mrs. Brunette, “because they seem to be so isolated.” She felt that something needed to be done to encourage and cheer up the children while they’re hospitalized. Her ges-

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