Back in January, before spring training for the 2020 MLB season got underway, and before 2020 turned into a year unlike any other, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis and his wife, Jill, took a trip to the Dominican Republic. It wasn’t a vacation. Rather, it was a chance to see first-hand the impact they were making through a child development ministry they had long been supporting.
The Davises traveled with Compassion International, a Christ-centered, church-based ministry dedicated to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Chris and Jill had sponsored children individually and funded several significant projects all over the world through Compassion for several years, but had never had the opportunity to see the impact of their work in person. So when they were offered the opportunity to travel to the Dominican with Compassion, they jumped at it.
“We had a chance to go down to the DR and meet some of the people that have really been the hands and feet for us over the years, and just get to know them a little bit and their stories, and it just hit us hard,” Chris recently told Sports Spectrum. “The impact that Compassion has had, and that the people involved are having on the world [is incredible], and we wanted to do everything we could to help and assist in any way possible.”
Initially unsure what that looked like upon returning home, the Davises knew exactly how they could help soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They learned about the “Fill the Stadium” initiative Compassion was launching, which seeks to provide essential food, medical care and support for a child and their family during this pandemic. The goal is to reach 70,000 children — which would fill an average-size NFL stadium — who were left without sponsorship funding when more than 1,200 child sponsorship events had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
“When we heard about the Fill The Stadium initiative, we were all in,” Chris said. “We want as many people as possibly can to join us and team up with us. Personally, we’re pledging $1 million to help relieve and aid as many people as possible. I can’t think of a better organization to be involved with and a better group of people to be surrounded by.”
70K children around the world living in poverty are facing unimaginable circumstances as a result of COVID-19. That number is the average attendance at football stadiums. They now sit empty. You can help Fill The Stadium. 👉 https://t.co/gm5q5O8TJB pic.twitter.com/9oG1dgW6PX
— FilltheStadium (@Fillthe_Stadium) October 19, 2020
Their incredibly generous donation has led the way among other pro athletes and sports and ministry leaders who have committed to being a part of the Fill the Stadium “lead team.” Among those leaders are NFL players including quarterback Nick Foles, defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty, and offensive lineman Nate Solder; MLB players including shortstop Nick Ahmed; USWNT soccer players including goalie Alyssa Naeher; PGA TOUR golfers including Zach Johnson; NHL players including defenseman Jaccob Slavin, and many more.
“Going to the Dominican was so inspiring to us,” Jill said, adding, “Just the impact that Compassion has not only on the kids, but their families and then their communities — what they’re providing is life-changing. Now, we’re seeing how the pandemic is affecting us, I just can’t imagine these families that are completely going without food because they can’t work, and children can’t go to school, and all the problems that that’s causing. We’re just inspired to help in any way we can.”
The Fill The Stadium initiative hopes that people who would normally spend money to attend a sports event this year — but can’t because of COVID-19 — would choose to support these at-risk children who need urgent help.
Anyone interested in supporting can visit FilltheStadium.com to give.
— N.Y. Giants’ Nate Solder joins ‘Team Up’, donates $1 million to Compassion
— NEW PODCAST: Jimmy Mellado, President and CEO of Compassion International
— Golfer Kevin Streelman teams with Compassion to build child development centers
— Orioles’ Chris Davis sees God’s plan at work in using his struggles to help others
— INCREASE VIDEO: Living as a Follower of Christ – Chris Davis