WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mark Barron has been named Week 12 NFLPA Community MVP for distributing 1,500 turkeys to underprivileged families for Thanksgiving in his home state of Alabama.
“It is humbling to be named NFLPA Community MVP,” the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker said. “This honor isn’t for or about me. It’s about the community I come from.”
That community is in Prichard, Alabama, a small town just outside Birmingham, where Barron starred as an All-State linebacker and track & field state champion. On November 23, he hosted his fourth annual Turkey Giveaway in partnership with the non-profit Together Assisting People Inc. and handed out 1,500 free turkeys at Prichard City Hall and Figures Community Center. While volunteers distributed this Thanksgiving gift of sorts, children enjoyed bounce houses and music served as a backdrop for a raffle featuring autographed photos, footballs and other prizes.
Dating back to his inaugural event in 2016, Barron has impacted more than 20,000 families in the Gulf Coast region, supplying more than 6,000 turkeys and holiday meals while donating $15,000 in cash and $250,000 in gifts.
“The holiday season is a time for families to come together,” Barron said. “I love having a hand in making that time a little easier, happier and more memorable for people. These are some of the reasons I do the turkey drive.”
Many of those same reasons have motivated the eight-year veteran to give back in other ways throughout his NFL career. Barron also hosts an annual football camp in Mobile along with providing ACT and SAT prep support services. In 2018, he opened a football workout facility in Port City, Alabama, providing a space where local athletes can have access to coaches, equipment and training opportunities while preparing for the next steps in their athletic journey.
“I come from a family of people with big hearts that always taught me to not just be a sideliner,” Barron said. “They taught me to contribute to the lives of others when and if I am in a position to do so; and I am. I’ll always be there for my city.”
In honor of Barron being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or charity of choice. Also, our supporting partner Pledge It has set up a crowdfunding campaign in his name to benefit a cause important to him. Supporters can pledge contributions based on every tackle Barron records the rest of this season, or they can make a flat donation at the following website: pledgeit.org/markbarron
Barron, along with the other 2019 Community MVPs, will become eligible for this year’s Alan Page Community Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.
The NFLPA Community MVP program recognizes NFL players who are making a positive impact in their local communities. Each week during the regular season, the NFLPA will celebrate one NFL player who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back to his community. Please visit our website to read more about the program.
2019 NFLPA Community MVP winners:
Week 0: Derrick Nnadi, Kansas City Chiefs
Week 1: Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Week 2: Rashaad Coward, Chicago Bears
Week 3: Lonnie Johnson, Houston Texans
Week 4: Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 5: Brandon Carr, Baltimore Ravens
Week 6: Deatrich Wise JR. New England Patriots
Week 7: Dustin Colquitt, Kansas City Chiefs
Week 8: Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints
Week 9: Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 10: Kelvin Beachum, New York Jets
Week 11: Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers