NFL Draft-a-Thon to raise awareness, action to help those impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

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FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2018 file photo, the NFL logo is displayed on the field at the Bank of American Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. The NFL revealed Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, that several positive COVID-19 tests were found a day earlier by one of its testing partners, and the Chicago Bears said they had nine false positives. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)

(WTAJ) — The NFL announced that the 2021 NFL Draft will host a Draft-a-Thon that focuses on four key issues from the pandemic – health disparities, the digital divide, food insecurity and mental health.

The Draft-a-Thon is a fundraiser that drives awareness and action to close critical gaps at the intersection of pandemic recovery and the hardest-hit communities, according to an NFL press release.

The Draft-a-Thon will be featured across the live Draft coverage on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and NFL Network April 29 through May 1.

It will showcase the efforts of the four nonprofit organizations that support pandemic recovery in these areas, as quoted in the press release:

  • Health Disparities – CDC Foundation: Communities of color, indigenous communities, older and rural Americans have long faced health disparities. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted those already experiencing health disparities. Through Draft-a-Thon, the CDC Foundation will drive awareness of the cause of health inequities and promote vital community conditions, including meeting the basic needs for health, nutrition, safety, housing, education and meaningful work.
  • The Digital Divide – The Education Trust: Over this past year, the digital divide – a growing chasm between those who have access to computers and reliable, high-speed Internet and those who do not – has widened due to the pandemic when students needed to work from home without proper resources to do so. More than 16 million students lack the necessary Internet access at home to complete their homework, according to Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education. This year’s Draft-a-Thon will support The Education Trust in their work to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families.
  • Food Insecurity – Feeding America: Feeding America estimates nearly 42 million people, including 13 million children, could face food insecurity in 2021 due to the ongoing economic fallout from COVID-19. This equates to 1 in 8 people and 1 in 6 children. Feeding America’s mission is to feed people facing food insecurity through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. Draft-a-Thon will provide an opportunity to inform fans that we all have neighbors that need our help putting food on the table, especially as we work towards pandemic recovery, and we can all help by spreading the word, donating and volunteering.
  • Mental Health – Mental Health America: Throughout the ongoing pandemic, 4 out of 5 people who took an anxiety or depression screening with Mental Health America reported moderate to severe symptoms. The pandemic has made it clear to everyone that there is a huge need for more mental health services and support, especially in our hardest hit communities. Mental Health America is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promote mental health. Draft-a-Thon will raise awareness and understanding that prioritizing our mental health is a key part of recovering from the pandemic.

A Draft-a-Thon LIVE will also stream across NFL social and digital platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Youtube, Twitch, Reddit and nfl.com/DraftaThon. They said more details are to follow on the Draft-a-Thon LIVE.

They are encouraging fans and other supporters to learn more about Draft-a-Thon and donate at nfl.com/DraftaThon.

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