By Andrew McDevitt, Sports,

Dozens of former professional athletes gathered on FSW’s campus on Friday morning to help feed hundreds of elementary school students.

The event was orchestrated by a pair of Southwest Florida charities, Blessings in a Backpack and Champions 4 Children.

The long list of athletes spanned from the top pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, Ki-Jana Carter, to LPGA Champion Mary-Jo Myers.

For one of the athletes, today’s Champions Dinner hit particularly close to home.

Bishop Verot alum, Adam Piatt, grew up in a single parent home in Southwest Florida before he made it to the MLB. Piatt wanted to pass along a message to every student in the room.

“All of you are very special. Everybody has a gift. Work hard, enjoy life, and get the most out of school, and if we can help provide any extra, it means a lot to give back. One kid, if there’s one kid in this room that we can get on a better path, I mean that’s all you can ask for,” said Piatt.

For others, like Laurin Conlin, a professional bodybuilder, it was about explaining to the kids that eating properly can help improve other aspects of your life.

“It really impacts so many different things. It impacts their performance in school, it impacts their performance in extracurricular activities or sports that they’re doing. They really just can’t function optimally,” said Conlin.

Both Blessing in a Backpack and Champions 4 Children work to serve the underprivileged in SWFL on a daily basis.