Steelers' tackle Kelvin Beachum has always wanted to give back to his hometown of Mexia, Texas. It's the place where he was raised, where he learned how to play football and eventually earned a college scholarship to SMU that would lead him to the NFL.
So last year he introduced the Kelvin Beachum Community Football Camp, open to kids in Mexia. This year it grew even more, into a camp that included some of his current and former teammates, as well as leaders in business and politics, attending and providing instruction for the participants.
"The fact that I am able to expose kids in the community to extraordinary people to me is big," said Beachum. "I never saw a college football player, who graduated from a four year university, come back to Mexia. I never experienced an NFL player come to Mexia, a homegrown individual. I never knew what a college or professional athlete was. I never knew what a congressman was and the congressman from my area, Bill Flores, was at my camp. It was really special."
Pittsburgh Steelers Kelvin Beachum hosts a football camp in Mexia, Texas.
Beachum, who was also joined by current Steelers Robert Golden, Antwon Blake, and Ramon Foster, took great pride and joy in being able to share insight with the kids from Mexia about what is available to them if they stay focused, dedicated and work hard.
"For that community to realize there is hope outside of Mexia is important," said Beachum. "It's a great town, I love it to death, but there is a big world outside of it. You can leave there, but come back and give back.
"We can all be successful and productive in society and hear from an array of people who were productive. You can be a professional athlete, you can be a business man, a lawyer, or a doctor. Being able to bring resources there is special. There are so many things I want to bring back there and this is a start. I want to be impactful in my hometown."
Beachum's desire to help doesn't end there. During his football camp he announced his partnership with Bread for the World, a faith-based organization fighting to end hunger in the United States and around the world. Beachum, who also works with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Fuel Up to Play 60, recently went to Washington, D.C. where Bread for the World is headquartered and met with members of congress to discuss the importance of nutrition for children and ending hunger on all levels.
"It's in my heart. It's special to me," said Beachum. "It breaks my heart when people don't have food. I love to eat. How can I be an NFL player and not help people who need food? People need relief, they need food. And they need it right here at home, where I am from, where I play now. To be a part of organizations that value the same things I believe in is important."
Helping at home is imperative for Beachum. In Texas one in four children live in poverty. He also wants to help those in Pittsburgh where he is now, and Dallas, where he played collegiately, as over 16 million American children go hungry.
"There are people right here in Pittsburgh, people in Dallas. People in Mexia who are hungry," said Beachum. "God has blessed me with a tremendous platform with the NFL and Steelers. You are able to open doors you wouldn't otherwise be able to. I am just trying to help them any way I can. They take care of people right here at home, which I love."