Summer 2024

Current, former NFL players give back to communities on MLK Day with Convoy of Hope

To honor the enduring legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the faith-based nonprofit Convoy of Hope held community events of service to the poor in seven cities around the country this holiday weekend.

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Among Convoy of Hope’s partners were a number of churches, as well as current and former NFL players, including Benjamin Watson, Matt Forte and Matthew Slater. Together, Convoy of Hope and its partners in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago and Providence (R.I.) helped deliver groceries, clothing items and more to families in need.

Jessica Smith and her four children were a few of the attendees of the Las Vegas event.

“We’ve been struggling ever since COVID hit,” she told Convoy of Hope, “and it’s just been hard. And this right here helps so much. It takes a burden off of my chest to get this kind of help. It really does.

“Y’all really came through. I really appreciate you. God bless you all for this.”

The leaders of the Las Vegas event were Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones and tight end Derek Carrier.

“To be out here with these people, they don’t know how much they’re helping us as well,” Jones told Convoy. “To give to them means the world to me. It’s truly special to share this day with Derek Carrier and Convoy of Hope. It brings a joy to my heart to be able to do something like this.”

Convoy of Hope helped organize these MLK Day service events in order to activate local churches and communities to give back to the neighborhoods in which they live. Dr. King was passionate about giving back to the poor and suffering. It’s a passion that’s been shared by Convoy of Hope since its work began in 1994, and it’s a passion that New England Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater and his wife, Shahrzad, share too.

The couple founded the Slater Family Foundation to empower individuals, churches, schools and community groups through “thoughtful philanthropy in Jesus Christ’s name for the glory of God.” And on Monday, the Slater Family Foundation partnered with Convoy of Hope, the ELISHA Project and Bethel AME Church to set up a trailer so they could visit several sites in the Providence area to distribute the needed supplies.

“I think as Christians, we feel like God has made us all with equal values and we should try to find common ground to stand on,” Slater told the New England Patriots team website. “That starts with love, respect and with acknowledging the inherent equality that exists inside each and every human being.

“Reconciliation is a Biblical precinct and it’s something that we feel we should pursue, and we certainly want to use our platform to bring people together.”

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – Hebrews 13:16

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