Giving back is nothing new for Cameron Heyward. He has been doing it since he was a child, and it hasn't stopped now that he is one of the NFL's best players.
So, it came as no surprise that Heyward spent his off day at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, giving his time to help others.
Heyward joined a team of volunteers for the 'Cam's Sacking Childhood Hunger' program, an effort to help school kids with proper nutrition for weekends. While the kids are fed in school during the week, there are times when over the weekend they don't get the proper nutrition, and sometimes food can be extremely scarce for them as families are simply trying to make ends meet.
"It's heartbreaking," said Heyward. "You are devoted to your family and you want to make sure they have meals. But to provide a roof over their head is a necessity as well. If we can ease that burden and provide a necessity, I am more than happy to do it."
Cam Heyward and the Heyward House pack food for local school kids at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
The food that Heyward, along with his Heyward House Foundation and Edgar Snyder & Associates, are providing was packed in bags and then will be put in backpacks for the kids to take home at the end of the school week, something that will be repeated weekly throughout the school year.
"Food insecurity affects a lot of people, especially students," said Heyward. "Parents have a hard job just to begin with providing. We want to ease them, help them, if we can provide a meal, it's pretty special."
Among the items packed were cereal, vegetables, fruit cups and more that can help sustain the kids, working with multiple schools in the area.
"There are people who need food," said Heyward. "It means a lot to be able to help those in need. There is always someone to help, whether it's a father, mother or child. You want to have someone on their side, and someone providing something like a meal can accomplish that."
Around 2,000 bags were packed for the kids during the event, which will be sent to Urban Pathways and others.
"One in five children in Southwestern Pennsylvania are food insecure so it's important for us to be able to give back through partnerships in the community like the one today with Edgar Snyder & Associates, The Heyward House and the Steelers," said Brian Gulish, VP of Marketing and Communication for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. "For us it's a win-win across the board coming together as a community to support our kids.
"Children are one of the highest served populations of the food bank in Southwestern Pennsylvania. About 100,000 children in Southwestern Pennsylvania are food insecure. Not only do they need enough food for stabilizing their lives; they need healthy food. Today we were able to help provide that healthy food and backpacks for the children."