Celebrating two years since viral donation campaign started by Bills Mafia
We can’t believe it’s been two years since the Bills Mafia showered Blessings in a Backpack with a whole lot of #BuffaLove following the 2021 Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens AFC Playoff game.
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson left the game with a concussion. A tweet by William Burke and a Reddit post by Dan Konopski, both Bills fans who didn’t know each other (at the time), called on Bills Mafia to give $8 in honor of Jackson’s jersey number to Blessings in a Backpack.
“Watching him go down in a scary way, I paused and reflected,” Dan said. “I said to a friend, ‘We should throw in $20 [to Blessings in a Backpack] in Lamar’s honor to keep the good karma going.'”
More than 18,450 football fans participated in the viral donation campaign, and $553,000 was raised to feed kids who might otherwise go hungry. Many lives were impacted — not only the children and families we serve but our volunteers and staff. William and Dan too. They were presented with a Musial Award in 2021 on behalf of the Buffalo Bills fan base.
The Bills Mafia’s generosity over the years, not only to Blessings in a Backpack but to other organizations — including the Buffalo children’s hospital in memory of Bills QB Josh Allen’s grandmother — has not gone unnoticed.
On January 2, it was the Bills’ turn to receive (buffa)love from football fans worldwide.
After Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during their matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, fans immediately sprang into action; over 246,000 people gave to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation. More than $8.9 million has been donated to the foundation, which helps young people through education and sports. NFL teams also showed their support for Hamlin by wearing shirts that read “Love for Damar” and shining their stadium lights blue and red.
We are delighted to hear that Hamlin is back in Buffalo — the City of Good Neighbors — with his team and family, celebrating Sunday’s wildcard win over the Dolphins.
As we have witnessed in recent weeks, and in 2021 when the Bills Mafia rallied for Blessings in a Backpack and Lamar Jackson, we’re all on the same team when it comes to helping others.
In the words of Damar Hamlin, “Life is bigger than football.”