The start of the NFL’s 100th season kicked off this week in Chicago, where the Bears and the Packers went head to head in the first game of the 2019 season. Kickoff not only honored the League's centennial season, it also gave the NFL an opportunity to team up with partners and fans throughout Chicago to contribute community volunteer time as part of the Huddle for 100 initiative. Throughout the week, more than 1,000 volunteers gave 100 minutes to create a cleaner environment and help create healthier lives for young people throughout Chicago.
On Wednesday of Kickoff Week, volunteers gathered at Douglas Park for Huddle Up to Play It Forward. The event was hosted alongside the Chicago Parks Foundation and the Chicago Parks District, groups that led volunteers through a variety of efforts to improve the park’s appearance and green areas. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and NFL legends greeted participants with opening remarks and joined them in volunteer activities. Former players John Randle and Orlando Pace, both Hall of Famers, Leonard Wheeler and Marty Moore, also joined the Huddle. Volunteer tasks included mulching trees, picking up litter, planting native species to establish a new natural area, building a path, and refurbishing two playgrounds. Lowes donated equipment, including tools and mulch, to help make the event possible. More than 40 Lowes employees also gave their time as part of the Lowe's Heroes program.
Fuel Up to Play 60 students served lunch provided by Pizza Hut and Fuel Up to Play 60 to their fellow volunteers prior to the event. They then competed in a scavenger hunt to see which team could collect the most litter, along with completing other fun tasks. The group filled 17 bags of trash and collected so many bottle caps they ran out of room on their scorecards. Campbell’s also showed up to offer soup to volunteers once their activities were complete.
That same afternoon, Boys and Girls Clubs across Chicago welcomed students back for the start of a new school year by hosting a Huddle Up to Play It Forward after-school activity. Between the eight participating Boys and Girls Clubs, students learned about ways they can practice environmentally friendly habits. The students also decorated light switches, reusable water bottles, and recycling bins for taking home, sharing sustainable habits with other people in their lives.
Education and awareness efforts continued on Game Day, where fans were encouraged to participate in a “Cleaner and Greener Tailgate” at Soldier Field's tailgate lots. With the help of local volunteers, the Chicago Bears, Soldier field staff and fans were encouraged to leave their areas completely litter free and to recycle all empty bottles and cans at collection points throughout tailgate areas.
The Chicago Bears kept the efforts going on Saturday, September 7th, as they helped rehabilitate 10+ parks throughout the city as part of the Bears Huddle for 100. Fans and other volunteers interested in getting involved with Huddle for 100 are encouraged share their volunteer experiences on social using #NFLHuddlefor100 or visit NFL.com/Huddlefor100-info to learn more.