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Rookies Surprise Hometown Grant Recipients

Posted Dec 6, 2017

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dairy Council of Florida partnered to award Tampa area school, Lopez Elementary, a $10,000 Fuel Up to Play 60 Hometown Grant.

In an effort to help students eat healthier and stay physically active, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dairy Council of Florida partnered to award Tampa area school, Lopez Elementary, a $10,000 Fuel Up to Play 60 Hometown Grant.

On Tuesday, students anxiously awaited the big reveal behind the curtains of the school cafeteria and were hysterically surprised to see the 2017 Buccaneers Rookie Club to celebrate their win. School administrators congratulated the students on their hard work and emphasized the importance of breakfast as a starting point for a healthier lifestyle.

Buccaneers Tight End O.J. Howard echoed the same sentiment on breakfast as fuel for the day ahead. “It starts with breakfast. Having a great breakfast in the morning gets your mind right,” says Howard. “It gets the day going.” In addition to new kitchen equipment, 3rd-5th grade students were surprised with a personal gift, just in time for the holidays. Not only were the players behind the curtain, but so were over 250 brand new sneakers for every student; continued encouragement to engage in at least sixty minutes of play every day.

Before the program concluded, students were invited to pair with players for PLAY 60 drills. “The students are wired up and it’s great to see them being themselves and having fun,” said Safety Justin Evans as he interacted with students at drill stations.

The Hometown Grant program developed by Fuel Up to Play 60 and the NFL are part of a larger initiative between the NFL and FUTP 60 to supply a $10,000 grant to a school in each of the 32 NFL markets, in hopes of making a difference in the overall health and wellness of students across the country.

“Without the partnership with the Buccaneers, this would not be possible,” Teresa Moran-Wiebe, Youth Wellness Director for Dairy Council of Florida shares. “This is a good example of two organizations coming together for the community to provide vital resources for the students.”

Earlier this season, local "Fuel Up to PLAY 60" Student Ambassadors from the Florida Dairy Council took part in pre-game activities, leading the Buccaneers onto the field and serving as honorary guests of the game during the coin toss when the Buccaneers defeated the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium.

Throughout the year, the Buccaneers rookies participated in a variety of outreach activities as members of the Buccaneers Rookie Club, the team’s long-standing effort to engage its youngest players with the local community. This offseason, the rookies participated in a go-kart outing with Tampa Fire Rescue and met with military service members and their families during a tour of MacDill Air Force Base. They have also spent their off day with children at Metropolitan Ministries, and visited with patients and their families at Moffitt Cancer Center.