UC Berkeley football player founds Intercept Poverty COVID-19 Campaign

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UC Berkeley football senior defensive back Elijah Hicks founded the Intercept Poverty COVID-19 Campaign to raise money for low-income families across the country facing food insecurity.

Created about three weeks ago, Hicks partnered with the No Kid Hungry foundation to create his campaign and help hungry children from low-income families during the COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, pandemic, Hicks said.

Student-athletes from across the United States joined Hicks to support the campaign and bring more attention to the cause, according to UC Berkeley football senior defensive back and campaign contributor Camryn Bynum.

“I come from a low-income background and the quarantine hit everybody by surprise. I understood that it hit families unexpectedly so I just felt for the parents that probably couldn’t prepare for it and are struggling financially to keep food in the house,” Hicks said. “It felt really close to me.”

Hicks and other student-athletes who joined the campaign compiled a video highlighting the impact some families are facing during the pandemic because their children rely on school-provided meals. The athletes in the video included current and former football players from the University of Oregon and the University of Washington.

The campaign has raised more than $37,000 as of press time, close to its ultimate goal of $40,000, according to the campaign’s website. The money raised goes directly to the No Kid Hungry foundation’s charity bank account and will be dispersed to charities around the U.S. that support low-income families, Hicks said.

“Just being able to help in any way possible means a lot and knowing how much money and love can help people in this time is a big gain,” Bynum said. “Not a lot of people are as fortunate as we are, so any way to give back, I’m all for it.”

Once the campaign’s financial target is reached, the student-athletes will continue to promote the campaign in hopes of impacting more peoples’ lives by raising additional funds, according to Bynum.

The campaign is “just the start,” Hicks said. This week, Hicks and his fellow UC Berkeley football players are planning to help the campus Basic Needs Center deliver food to struggling students in Berkeley.

Through the campaign, Hicks was able to bring people together and foster empathy for struggling families, Bynum said.

“He could have done it all on his own, but him bringing other people along with him is a testament of who he is and showing the team aspect he has and his personality,” Bynum said. “We really see if we all stick together on this, how much we are able to help.”

Contact Maxine Mouly at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @moulymaxine.